Deborah Frisch, Ph.D.
December 8, 2008
to Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision
Re: Support of Parole of Elizabeth Diane Downs, SID 6546106
The only non-circumstantial
evidence in support of the allegation that Ms. Downs shot her children
was the testimony of Christie Downs, who was coached for almost a year
by former Lane County Deputy District Attorney Fred Hugi. [Note: It is
not clear why Mr. Hugi continued to prosecute Ms. Downs on behalf of
Lane County District Attorney Harcleroad after he decided he wanted to
adopt Christie and Danny Downs. The unbelievable conflict of interest
that existed when former Lane County Deputy District Attorney Hugi
prosecuted the mother of the children he wanted to adopt is beyond the
scope of this letter.]
The unreliability of children's testimony has been documented by cognitive psychologists such as Elizabeth Loftus of the University of Washington, Stephen Ceci of Cornell and others. [aaarrrggghhh! i should have added "and denied by cognitive pseudoscientists like Jennifer J. Freyd of the University of Oregon."] The harm done to families by unscrupulous district attorneys who bully children into falsely testifying against their parents has recently been documented in a documentary called "Witch Hunt" by Sean Penn about Kern County (CA) District Attorney Ed Jagels. There is no way that a jury would convict Ms. Downs today, based on the clearly coached (by a man who wanted to adopt her) testimony of Christie Downs.
The Certainty of Memory Has
Its Day in Court
Witness testimony has been the gold standard of the criminal justice system, revered in courtrooms and crime dramas as the evidence that clinches a case.
Yet scientists have long cautioned that the brain is not a filing cabinet, storing memories in a way that they can be pulled out, consulted and returned intact. Memory is not so much a record of the past as a rough sketch that can be modified even by the simple act of telling the story.
Sightseeing Oregonís Security Construct > continue>>