Court of Criminal Appeals Declines (Again) to Declare Satanic Panic Victims Innocent

You have some homework to do this weekend.

You are required to read a motion to the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals that asks the esteemed judges to officially declare that two Austin day care owners who spent 21 years in prison didn't actually fly a plane full of children to Mexico, for the express purpose of being raped by soldiers, and have them back by the time their parents came to pick them up. 

The motion, posted below, asks the judges to declare that these day care owners didn't actually drag children to a cemetery and force them to participate in the ritual chainsawing of a person thrown into a hole by a police officer.  The motion asks the judges to assert that the day care owners didn't really serve the kids blood-laced Kool-Aid. 

You have to read this motion, because you have to understand what a majority of the judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are willing to believe, in the absence of both evidence and common sense. 

See, in 1991, Fran and Dan Keller became victims of the "Satanic Panic" phenomenon that turned investigators' and parents' brains to mush and destroyed lives. A troubled three-year-old in their charge accused them of unbelievable — in the actual sense of the word — acts, and, thanks to dubious "expert" witnesses who padded the prosecutors' case, the Kellers were sentenced in 1992 to 48 years in prison. 

Fran Keller was released on bond in 2013, after one of these so-called experts, physician Michael Mouw, recanted his testimony that a girl in the Kellers' care had an injury consistent with sexual abuse. The Kellers' appellate lawyer, Keith Hampton, later asked the CCA to toss out the couple's convictions and declare their actual innocence. The CCA set aside the convictions, but noted in a majority decision that the innocence claims should be denied, based on the court's "independent review of the record."

Hampton then filed a motion for the judges to reconsider, and it's that motion — your homework — that the CCA declined Wednesday. (Judge Cheryl Johnson noted that she would grant the motion. Johnson also wrote in a concurring opinion in May that the innocence claims should be granted).

The motion for reconsideration outlines the lengths law enforcement officers went through to investigate the children's claims . They "scoured the records of at least eight airports searching for a mythical airplane which could land in a residential neighborhood, kidnap children from daycare, deposit them in Mexico where they were molested, then return them with no one noticing," Hampton wrote.

Moreover, "police equipped a helicopter with an infrared camera and flew over at least eleven cemeteries in search of sites of human sacrifice." 

And prosecutors were willing to present the likes of Randy Noblitt, described in the motion as a "self-professed ritual abuse 'expert'...[who] has long enlisted himself in the exposure of an alien Jewish/demonic interplanetary plot to conduct thousands of human sacrifices and enslave humanity through various government agencies."

That the Texas criminal justice system allowed itself to succumb to Satanic Panic is shameful. That, after the Kellers lost decades of their lives, the state's highest criminal court cannot acknowledge this grave mistake and concede their innocence is inexcusable. 

As Hampton wrote, the Kellers "deserve to have their innocence vindicated with the finality and fullness only the judges of this Court can in good conscience provide....Justice has yet to be served." 

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