Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Accused cop killer’s case caught in Solano autopsy controversy

19henry smith court

Henry Albert Smith Jr., right, the suspect in the 2011 killing of Vallejo Police Officer James Capoot, appears in Solano County Superior Court Tuesday. His attorney Oscar Bobrow is at left. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | February 19, 2014 | 8 Comments

FAIRFIELD — An accused cop killer was in court Tuesday, but the focus of his brief hearing was something altogether different.

At issue was the growing controversy in the Sheriff’s Office and the courthouse about 37 autopsies done in homicide cases. That controversy came to light because of questions raised by defense attorneys for the Fairfield man accused of strangling and raping a 13-year-old foster child.

The deputy public defender for Henry A. Smith, wants a judge to review more than 1,000 pages of documents relating to events that led to the termination of the doctor who performed autopsies on Vallejo police Officer James Capoot, 13-year-old Genelle Conway-Allen and many other homicide victims, including two Vacaville men authorities allege were shot and killed by Richard R. Calkins in 2010.

Smith is accused of fatally shooting Capoot after a November 2011 bank robbery.

The investigation into Dr. Susan Hogan surfaced when the lawyers for Conway-Allen’s accused killer got a copy of an email Hogan sent to the District Attorney’s Office before an arrest in the girl’s killing, claiming that the girl’s death may have occurred accidentally during consensual sex. The email included the caveat, “just between you and me,” which infuriated defense attorneys, who did not learn of the email until seven months after it was sent.

Another email by Hogan to the District Attorney’s Office explained the recent decision she made not to testify at the upcoming Calkins’ jury trial was fueled by being “fired out of the blue for no reason.”

Sheriff Thomas Ferrara has refused to comment on Hogan’s claim of being fired and Sheriff’s Office officials who have repeatedly said Hogan “retired in December 2013.”

Prosecutors in the Conway-Allen murder case said in a recent court filing that FBI and Fairfield police investigators felt frustration over “pushback” from Hogan and were “concerned about (her) autopsy procedures.” In addition, during a February 2013 meeting between top Sheriff’s Office staff and prosecutors, it was revealed that Sheriff’s Office staff were conducting an “internal evaluation” of Hogan’s work and her “suitability to remain as primary pathologist for the Sheriff’s Office.”

The evaluation ended sometime before Sept. 16, 2013, when the Hogan email was provided to defense attorneys.

Last week in Calkins’ case, Judge Donna Stashyn completed a review of more than 1,000 pages of documents relating to Hogan that were provided by county attorneys in request to a subpoena. Stashyn ruled that most of the documents would remain confidential but she gave prosecutor Karen Jensen a thick sheath of documents that might affect several pending criminal cases, including the Calkins case.

Jensen is also prosecuting Smith for the Capoot killing. She revealed Tuesday, after spending part of her weekend reviewing the newly obtained documents about Hogan, that at least four pending murder cases may be flawed by problems with Hogan’s autopsies and her other work.

“I feel uncomfortable sitting on these materials,” Jensen said at Tuesday’s hearing of a package of copies of documents about Hogan that she handed over to Smith’s defense attorney and to Judge Peter B. Foor, the judge in Smith’s case.

Foor promptly ordered nobody to copy the documents and reminded all parties in the Smith case to abide by a standing gag order. Foor’s review of the documents is pending and several other judges are expected to make similar reviews in the upcoming weeks.

Jensen said some of the documents about Hogan’s autopsies and related work revealed substandard work, interference with police investigations and having sometimes provided law enforcement authorities with inaccurate information.

Hogan’s personal attorney, who has attended several recent hearings about the documents, told Foor her client has never seen the documents reviewed by Stashyn and Jensen.

Questions about Hogan’s quality of work and how it may affect pending criminal cases are echoing revelations three years ago about Hogan’s predecessor in the Sheriff’s Office – Dr. Thomas Gill. District Attorney Donald A. du Bain in 2011 announced that at least 27 homicide cases were going to be reviewed in the wake of concerns about questionable autopsies done by Gill.

The reviews turned up nothing prompting any changes in any of the homicide cases. The reviews were done by Hogan.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • GOODGUYFebruary 19, 2014 - 6:30 am

    Are you serious? And the defense is that A CHILD PREDATOR HAD CONSENSUAL SEX WITH HIS VICTIM? Who cares about the damn autopsy report the evidence is overwhelming! the defense attorney should be ashamed of his face being on the news for representing a BRUTAL CHILD MOLESTER! And COP KILLER YOURE DONE! THE WORLD WILL BE MUCH SAFER WITH BOTH OF THESE MONSTERS ROTTING IN HELL! FF throw away the cop cameras and spend the money on a decent Coroner! Make sure it's not a political hookup so this substandard work doesn't happen again!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterFebruary 19, 2014 - 6:38 am

    Do ya see how important it is to have competence and integrity in the Sheriff's Office? It is time for a change. I don't see how Mr Hand-Picked is bringing us that change. In fact, it looks like the wheels are falling off his wagon.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill of RightsFebruary 19, 2014 - 6:38 am

    Defense Attorneys are the lowest! They capitalize on any glitch in the court process, will twist our Bill of Rights to suit their clients needs, play by a set of rules rules, that only criminals would approve, and use scare tactics against a weak court system! How could anyone sleep at night knowing this is the work that you do? A criminal could!! Henry Smith will answer for his crime! Smoke and mirrors won't work on this case!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • my2centsFebruary 19, 2014 - 7:34 am

    It is clear that most Americans do not understand our adversarial system of justice. In criminal proceedings where important civil rights are at stake, everyone get a lawyer and a jury decides guilt or innocence based on the evidence presented by each side. Defense attorneys are essential to this system. Still, I would appreciate it if my public defender would shave so he didn't look like he was coming off a weekend bender.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill of RightsFebruary 19, 2014 - 11:01 pm

    @my 2 cents, there is a difference between adversarial and slime! I stand by my previous statements. Civil rights can be protected while maintaining professionalism. The prosecutors and police are held to a higher standard than a defense attorney and his PI that failed as a cop. They divert from the truth and look for weaknesses in the case. They attack victims and the police who protect. They find character witnesses and professionals to testify for a nominal fee and they don't care if their defendant is guilty. Now what does that have to do with the violation of a defendants civil rights?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensFebruary 19, 2014 - 8:45 am

    So exactly where is this enigmatic Dr. Hogan and when may attorneys and private investigators meet with her? All of her official communications regarding these pending cases are now due process / 6th amendment relevant discovery particular items whether we like it or not. That's the law whether we like it or not. Prosecutors withholding ''Brady'' evidence need to account, again, whether we like it or not---thats the law. The withholding of Brady exculpatory evidence happens everyday in the United States with the most eggregious recent example being Florida's Angela Corey withholding the contents of Trayvon Martin's cell phone from George Zimmerman's attorneys. In that case, DA forensic investigators revolted against Ms. Corey and turned over the photos of drugs and weapons that Mr. Martin possessed to Zimmerman's attorneys. Those investigators were then unjustly fired and they are now suing. The Dr. Hogan mess needs to be explained and revealed for justice to prevail----whether we like it or not.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JBFebruary 19, 2014 - 9:02 am

    An adult having consensual sex with a 13 year old is still a crime.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • disgustedbyourbossFebruary 19, 2014 - 5:21 pm

    Thomas Ferrera had a representative go on local media and lie to the general public. Thomas Ferrera has no credibility and should not be the Sheriff of Solano County. His comments should have been that he can't comment on personnel matters, though he chose to have a representative go in front of the camera and lie, not thinking the documents would be disclosed. How can we trust him. And he threw a subordinate under the bus because he didn't have the courage to face the media himself. And he has now replaced Hogan with a pathologist from the same company both Hogan and Gil came from. This man must go!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Bay Area makes growth plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Supervisor candidates vary on Plan Bay Area

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

Earth Day means cleanup Day for Suisun City

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Hop to it: Couple lights up home, yard for Easter

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

Ranking the best Bay Area athletes

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
The Edge hosts Easter egg hunt

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

Alooma Temple keeps children in mind

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield author to speak at women’s expo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

The resurrection has changed the lives of Christians

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Piano scholarship competition set in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Understanding your health insurance

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: D4, 1 Comment

 
Armijo graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

 
Record Store Day a commercial hit

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Easter egg hunt brings out the smiles

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. joins Fairfield coffee corridor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 5 Comments | Gallery

City sets plan to dispose of property assets

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Counties tell Brown they need money for his law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
San Francisco probe leading to entrapment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Exhibit recreates Warhol’s 1964 World’s Fair mural

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Documents detail another delayed GM recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Government … for the government?

By Bill James | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Neighborhood speeders don’t get it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Why would a person do this?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Sound off for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Jeb Bush, love, and today’s GOP

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
 
.

Living

Today in History for April 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Bill Nye says he underestimated debate’s impact

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 10 Comments

 
Book details lives of cloistered nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes for April 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D4

 
Pete spends weekends at my house but he never invites me to his

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D4

.

Entertainment

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Tartt, Goodwin finalists for Carnegie medals

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book on fracking illuminates pros, cons

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

A’s score 3 in 9th, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings, Sharks look to put Game 1 in past

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stults, Padres hand Giants third straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raptors GM Ujiri uses profanity about Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Durant leads Thunder past Grizzlies 100-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Indians set two new school records for track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Wie shoots 67, wins LPGA LOTTE Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Travis Bowl Highlights

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Rapids, Earthquakes play to scoreless tie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Stars Recreation bowling results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Jimenez leads Langer by 1 shot in Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Award-winning archery champ shoots with his teeth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survivors keep busy as Boston Marathon approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
US delays review of contentious Keystone pipeline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Subscription sample boxes shake up beauty routines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Girls from modest families get lift in technology

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Haunted house part of San Antonio apartment lofts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
Recalls this week: lanterns, exercise devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

Review: Siri-like Cortana fills Windows phone gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Margaret Elizabeth Silva

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Lloyd G. Hoffmeister

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Ramon Isidro

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Rogelio Tinoco-Zamudio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

James Leroy Barbour

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
William Paul Wehrly

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics