To: Bonnie Dumanis, District Attorney
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE MUST RE-INVESTIGATE THE DEARCEY STEWART CASE AND SET HIM FREE.
1. DeArcey Jamul Stewart is currently serving two life sentences in a California State Prison as a result of false evidence that was introduced against him in the 1996 trial of him and his codefendant, Richard Lee. Two brothers, Mark and Michael Parish, identified Lee at trial as the man who shot them out of a car driven by Mr. Stewart. (See case no. SCD 116366). Since their conviction Richard Lee has been exonerated from his role in the crime, an issue that raises serious questions about Mr. Stewart’s conviction.
2. On 8/4/2000 the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office chose not to oppose a state habeas petition filed by Richard Lee. The petition was based on newly discovered evidence alleging that Lee was not the shooter of the Parish brothers but instead it was Arnold Adkins, a man who had been deceased. (See HC 16243). The information underlying Lee’s petition first surfaced sometime between the years 1997-1998, the time when the Stewart and Lee case was pending before the California Court of Appeals. And it was the District Attorney’s Office who first came to possess the information. Yet despite an awareness that at least one of the Parish brothers may have been pressured by police and family members to falsely accuse Stewart and Lee as the people involved in the shooting, for still unexplained reasons, the District Attorney’s Office chose not to look into the possibility that the evidence underlying the convictions in this case was false. These matters are of great concern to the signers of this petition.
3. It has since been declared that Richard Lee’s exoneration actually came about through a deal made between him and then prosecuting attorney Michael Groch stipulating that if Lee agreed not to discredit an informant in another case that Groch was prosecuting; Groch would then provide Lee the exonerating information. It has further been declared that the information was actually of an exonerating nature towards both Mr. Lee and Stewart. It bears noting that the evidence in support of the Lee petition appears to have been unreliable on its face and was supported by witnesses who, the District Attorney has admitted have biases in favor of Mr. Lee. As such, the integrity of the District Attorney’s decision not to oppose Richard Lee’s petition, must be called into question.
4. The District Attorney’s office is under an ongoing obligation to correct false evidence whenever it appears. This obligation demands a full and thorough investigation into the possibility that false evidence has been presented. Therefore, based on the above, we petition the District Attorney of the County of San Diego, Bonnie Dumanis, to exercise her ethical and legal obligations under the United States Constitution and re-investigate the Stewart case and determine the following:
a. Was false evidence presented at any time against either: Richard Lee, DeArcey Stewart, or both, in the prosecution’s case concerning the Parish brothers?
b. Is the District Attorney’s Office in possession of any information tending to show that Mr. Stewart did not participate in the Parish brothers shooting?
c. Why did the District Attorney’s Office not investigate into Richard Lee’s innocence at the time it first received the information that Lee did not shoot the Parish brothers?
d. Did Michael Groch, his investigator, or anyone else from the District Attorney’s Office meet with Richard Lee in the year 1999 to discuss his testimony in case no. SCD 137023? If so, what was the nature of those discussions?
e. What is the District Attorney’s Office reasoning behind its decision not to oppose Richard Lee’s habeas petition?
f. On 10/4/2002, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office argued to the Superior Court that Roy Vinson was biased in favor of Richard Lee. (See HC 17038). However it was a declaration from the very same Roy Vinson that was one of the central pieces of evidence in support of Lee’s petition. Why was the Vinson declaration submitted in support of the Lee petition not opposed on the ground that he was biased in favor of Mr. Lee?
g. What effect does the new evidence that Arnold Adkins shot the Parish brothers have on the initial police investigation conducted into the shooting identifying Richard Lee?
h. Was there any abuse of the California State Habeas procedures on the part of the District Attorney’s Office leading to the exoneration of Richard Lee?
Why is this important?
This petition concerns the unjust incarceration of DeArcey Stewart. The San Diego County’s District attorney’s Office is in a position to correct this injustice, yet have chosen to turn a blind eye. By signing this petition, you will be doing your part in compelling District Attorney Dumanis to uphold her duty under the United States Constitution and set Mr. Stewart free.