Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kerry Max Cook files FEDERAL lawsuit seeking damages related to previous conviction in Tyler murder case


It's not like we couldn't have seen this one coming...

On the one hand, as a person who actually cares about justice, I should be happier about this.  After all, this gives Kerry Max Cook another opportunity to stick it to local officials who railroaded him over and over again and sent him to death row, where he spent 20 years.  But on the other hand, I'm not that happy.  Win or lose, this is going to cost the taxpayers of Tyler and Smith County assloads of money.  Think about this:  Smith County recently paid out around $46,000 in legal fees to some local yahoo attorneys to defend Joel Baker and the county clownishioners against misdemeanor charges for Texas Open Meetings Act violations.  This Kerry Max Cook thing is very complex and is going to take place in federal court.  So, of course, the city and county are going to have to outsource their defense to private-practice attorneys who actually know what they are doing.  I'm predicting that the cost of legal representation for the county and city is going to be in the hundreds of thousands.

But if Cook prevails, I can only imagine what the judgment will be.  Hell, plaintiffs have gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars for just a few days of wrongful incarceration.  Cook was on death row for 20 years and was brutalized and repeatedly raped during that time!  Lets see--monetary damages plus pain-and-suffering type of stuff plus punitive damages...and we would also have to pay Cook's legal fees if he won.  Millions?  Are the county and city insured against this kind of thing?  Even worse, a win by Cook could open the litigation door for a multitude of other plaintiffs who have been wronged by Smith County's prosecution machine.  Hmm...can anyone else think of a recent case in which--possibly for political reasons--a person was wrongfully accused and maliciously prosecuted for a crime he didn't commit?

Why you should be angry

Maybe you are thinking this is just the "cost of doing business" in a community that is "tough on crime."  I assert that this could have been avoided.  Three generations of prosecutors have had the opportunity to carefully consider the merits of this case, and have failed to do the right thing.  Let's review the history of this case:

  • In 1977, the Tyler Police Department could have actually done a competent investigation by carefully considering the possibility that the most obvious suspect, James Mayfield, might have actually been the murderer.
  • In the first trial in 1978, District Attorney A.D. Clark III (currently married to District Judge Carole Clark) could have questioned the merits of the case, that was based largely on questionable forensic evidence, a bogus psychological evaluation, and the testimony of a jailhouse snitch.  He could have had a heart-to-heart talk with the chief of police and demanded that Tyler PD take another look at James Mayfield.  (The 1978 conviction was overturned, by the way.)
  • After the 1992 retrial, which ended in a mistrial, District Attorney Jack Skeen Jr. might have considered whether the case against Cook was legitimate.  Instead, he went after Cook again, and...
  • In 1994, Skeen prosecuted Cook again, but that conviction was overturned.  At that point you would think Skeen would have had a "Here's your sign!" moment and put an end to this madness once and for all.
  • In Cook's FOURTH trial in 1998, Skeen and his underling, prosecutor David Dobbs could have waited until DNA test results--which would have almost certainly exonerated Cook--were available.  Instead, they strong-armed the frightened Cook into accepting a plea deal that released him from prison, but left him branded a convicted murderer.
And finally...

  • In 2016, your current District Attorney, Matt Bingham, could have done the right thing and sought justice for Cook, making him eligible for compensation from the state for the 20 years he spent on death row.  But Bingham was more interested in protecting his predecessors, including David Dobbs and Jack Skeen.  So he finagled a deal with Cook's attorneys in which the charges would be dropped, but the prosecutors' misconduct in the previous trials would never see the light of day in open court. 
District Attorney Matt Bingham
(Must have been out with the flu the day they went over Art. 2.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in law school.)

Art. 2.01. DUTIES OF DISTRICT ATTORNEYS.  Each district attorney shall represent the State in all criminal cases...It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done.  They shall not suppress facts or secrete witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused.

This could have ended long ago.  But instead of examining facts and doing what was rational and just, three generations of prosecutors have put their efforts into covering their tracks, concealing their misdeeds, and protecting their predecessors.

And you're going to pay for it, sheeple of Tyler and Smith County.


  1. Smith County & everyone involved,including the media, should have to pay for the injustice to Kerry Max Cook. I am Linda Jo Edwards's step sister. These organizations & people had no problem taking all the tax payers money to convict this innocent man & try to put him to death.Not to mention lying to my family & portraying that justice was done. Pay this man. Bring the real killer to justice. I don't can if he or she is 100 yrs old or married to royalty....BrenLeeStan

  2. Not only should Smith county and Tyler have to pay him big bucks, they should also go after the corrupt prosecution and make them serve some time in jail for what they have done to Kerry Max Cook. They would get a first hand look at what their actions can do to someone. (deservedly so) It's easy to sit in an office and decide to ruin someone else's life. The citizens of Tyler and Smith county are just as guilty by continuing to support the people that do this. They should be more concerned about seeing justice served than just putting people in jail because they are tough on crime. There is no telling how many people they have railroaded and prosecuted because they want another notch on their belt.

  3. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have prosecutes and judges who prosecuted and demonized the RIGHT people!
    We all know good people who have been treated like they were criminals..with no reason, no charges ever filed.
    Thank you Kerry Max Cook for being a bull dog who refused to roll over or be coward! A true HERO.
    If it costs Smith County and Tyler a small fortune to do the best we can to make up for an atrocity we allowed to
    happen, It will be a small price to pay for Justice in Smith County.

    Please read this if you really care.

    Please read the recent article from TEXAS MONTHLY!

  5. I saw that this post created a little stir on Facebook after Kerry Max Cook posted a link to it. There were some disdainful comments, and one of the commenters thought I was a "journalist." What an insult! Anyhoo, some lady was unhappy that I seem to be focusing on what this will cost taxpayers instead of on Cook's plight. Let me explain myself...

    I am writing this blog for voters in Smith County. This is a "one party" (Republican) county, and the elections for all county-wide offices are decided in the Republican primaries. Things are starting to change, but it is my observation that the "mean old white people" vote usually wins the day. I AM TALKING ABOUT FISCAL CONCERNS BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY LANGUAGE THEY SEEM TO UNDERSTAND. The majority of the voters who show up for the Republican primary are apparently primarily concerned with "keeping taxes low." They don't care about justice, integrity, or the common good. So, if this thing costs the county millions of dollars and they have to raise taxes to make ends meet in a couple of years, maybe people her will get interested in electing DA's and judges who actually have integrity, or who are at least willing to abide by the laws so that we won't end up in a situation like this again.

    1. Prove hes innocent!! Provvveee itt!!! I hope the da reopens tge case. Cook is a delusional lying SOB

  6. This man is a liar! Hey cook why didnr you ever take the stand! Because a attention whore seeking sociopathic no good liar. I hope you rot in the slums of hell

  7. May he be indicted again and resentenced to life in prison. How do you honestly believe this guy cook isnt about one thing-money!!

  8. You must be related to James Mayfield, Anonymous.

  9. I bet Anonymous 12:01 is David Dobbs. Mr. Dobbs, why were you and Skeen afraid to take the stand? You were so afraid that you had to get Bingham to make you a special prosecutor. When that didn't work you got Bingham to agree to the deal that meant you and Skeen wouldn't have to testify. What were you afraid of? Perhaps the revelation of the egregious misconduct you committed. You and Skeen would have faced the same fate as Ken Anderson. You still should. Maybe one day that will happen. Why aren't you and Skeen men enough to fess up to what you did. When you deny any misconduct why don't you explain how the page from the transcript that you said was missing, showed up in your hands? That might have been a question you had to answer under oath. What would your answer have been? Oh, and nobody believes your lame story about "checking on" Cook in the jail. A first year law student should know that a prosecutor talking to a represented defendant without his lawyer is improper. Although, from what I've heard its not all that uncommon for Smith County prosecutors. How many other times had you done that? Oh, and one more thing, nobody with any sense at all believes that you and Skeen didn't know the results of the DNA testing when you offered Cook the Alford plea deal. You may think you are fooling people but you ain't.

  10. Matt Bingham should confess that Kerry Max Cook is innocent. Just as the Travis county DA has confessed that Francis and Daniel Keller are innocent. The guilty in this case are David Dobbs, Jack Skeen, James Mayfield and Louella Mayfield and any others that tried to hide, coverup or protect these people.