806 days, 16 hours, 14 minutes, and 7 seconds Is the amount of time Nathan has so far been wrongly incarcerated773 Until Judge Nation overturned all charges in Rockdale County GA.Now in Dekalb County GA. for the car-jacking he also did not commit!
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ALL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED IN ROCKDALE COUNTY 10-07-11!!!!!
Chronological Timeline From Prior To The Arrest As Seen Through The Eyes Of The News Media
[ Police look for suspect 08-17-09 to 08-27-09 ][ Local Man Charged in Holdup 8-27-09 ] [ Bella Vista robbery arraignment set 12-31-09 ][ Robbery trial set to begin 06-21-10 ][ Grocery robber gets life 07-12-10 ][ Touching Reunion 10-09-10 ][ Man facing life asks for DNA testing 11-18-10 ][ Robbery trial goes to jury today 06-23-10 ]
[ Armed robbery: Suspect with dreadlocks found guilty 06-24-10 ][ Man sentenced to life asks for new trial 08-08-11 ][ Retrial sought in robbery - Attorneys cast doubt in ID of Dwight as gunman 08-10-11 ][ Courts Drop Conviction In Rockdale Armed Robbery 10-06-11 ][ Retrial Given In Armed Robbery Case 10-06-11 ][ Dwight Charges Dismissed 10-07-11 ][ 11Alive 11-21-11 ]
After being in contact with the attorneys, I have been advised that I can release the latest update (it is now public record) concerning Nathan's armed robbery charges in Rockdale County. After the Judge (Sidney Nation) granted a new trial (only the second in his 19 years on the Rockdale County bench), within 24 hours the District Attorney's office filed with the Court a [ Nolle Prosequi Order ] (10-07-11 @ 4:25pm). (Nolle prosequi AKA Nol Pross is a declaration made by a prosecutor in a criminal case either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped). This is an order that stated the State does not want to continue with the prosecution.
Right now Nathan has been transported and is incarcerated in Dekalb County GA. in "Legal Limbo" so to speak for the car jacking charge. We are hoping that the same scenario will apply in Dekalb County and Nathan shall be free very soon to get on with his life as the innocent man he has always been!!!
On 8 August 2011 a specially set motions hearing was heard in from of the Hon. Sidney Nation for Nathan Dwight requesting a new trial.[ Man facing life asks for DNA testing 11-18-10 ][ Man sentenced to life asks for new trial 08-08-11 ][ Retrial sought in robbery - Attorneys cast doubt in ID of Dwight as gunman 08-10-11 ][ RETRIAL GIVEN IN ARMED ROBBERY CASE 10-06-11!!! ][ CHARGES DISMISSED 10-07-11 ]
Final motion hearing set For 6 October 2011 @ 2:00pmThe final motions hearing has been scheduled (for final arguments asking for at best a reversal and at the very least a new trial) on Thursday,October 6th, 2011 at 2pm in Judge Nation's courtroom (Room 225C) in Rockdale County.The address of the hearing is:Rockdale County Courthouse922 Court Street Conyers, Georgia 30012Room 225C
We encourage as many of you as possible to attend this hearing to show your support for Nathan in this very crucial hearing.
I'm Michael Minkoff and I want to tell you a tragic true story about a young man named Nathan Christopher Dwight. This is the story of being unjustly arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced for crimes committed by someone else who is still out there probably committing more crimes.I am a retired Police Officer and throughout my career the vindicating of people in prison was not even close to my "job description," so to speak. All my life I have honored and respected the law and what it stands for and I have always been on the enforcement side of the bench. If a person is guilty, punish him. I am now in the unique position of arguing for the release of someone from prison, rather than the reverse, precisely because I respect the law, and I adamantly believe an innocent person should not be behind bars.
Nathan Dwight was in my home, my guest when the crimes in question were committed. Yes, he was the guest of a former Police Officer. That is why I have taken up his cause.
If you would like to call me, write me, or email me to discuss any details of this case (that have not been sealed by the Judge), or clarify any issues, please do. I am more than willing to discuss this young man's horrible and unjust ordeal.As a law enforcement officer I cannot forget this, too: as long as he in prison, a guilty man is free to do more harm.
Michael Minkoff, former Police Officer
My contact information is:firstname.lastname@example.org Home phone 770-785-3936Cell phone 404-312-6589
Mailing Address;Michael MinkoffPO Box 80472Conyers, GA 30013-9998
This will be a short dissertation about a young man by the name of Nathan Christopher Dwight. He was arrested, incarcerated and placed in solitary since August 27, 2009 for crimes committed on August 17, 2009. The problem is that it was impossible for him to have committed these crimes. Bail was set too high for anyone in his family to meet and The Judge did not allow property where his family could of put up their home. Bail was set at 100,000 cash or surety.The following are a list of crimes he was accused of committing.
Armed car-jacking in Dekalb County GA. on or about 8:29 am
Armed robbery of a Mexican store and deli (Bella Vista II) in Rockdale County GA . at 9:30 am
Three counts of aggravated assault (Threatening three people within the store with a weapon).
Possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime.
The reason it was impossible for him to have committed these crimes was quite simple. At the above times of the incidents, Mr. Dwight was in our home sleeping. My wife was at home, visually saw him, woke him up, (at 8:15 am) spoke to him to see if he wanted breakfast, and then he went back to sleep. My wife was home until almost 10:00 am and Mr. Dwight was asleep all that time (except for when she asked him about breakfast) so it was physically impossible for him to of committed the crimes he was accused, tried, convicted and sentenced!
It is a real sorry set of affairs when a jury of your "Peers" does not even believe a respected member of the community who proved beyond any shadow of a doubt where Mr. Dwight was when the crimes were taking place.
Nathan Dwight had a cell phone that was registered to me at the time of these unjust incidents. Not once did the persons investigating this case (Neither the D.A's Office or the Sheriff's Dept.) come to me and ask for the phone records. They also never acquired a court order to get my phone records. At the time of the incident, as I stated earlier, Nathan was asleep in my home with his cell phone on (as it always is). All the authorities had to do was either ask me or get a court order for those phone records and go to the phone company (AT&T) to see if there was any traffic on that particular phone at that particular time. If the "investigators" would of gotten the phone records in a timely fashion (as any professional investigator would), they would of found out that at the time Mr. Dwight was accused of being in Dekalb County, Ga. carjacking a car at gunpoint, the cell tower would of reflected that the phone which was registered to me was in Rockdale County Ga. with him and could not of been in Dekalb County Ga. as they claimed. According to a spokesperson from AT&T the "pinging" of a cell phone can be done within a years time to locate which cell tower it was hitting off.
At the trial according to family members that were in attendance for the entire trial, the "Investigators" knew about the cell phone and the records and did not even attempt to acquire them to do a proper investigation to prove the actual whereabouts of Nathan Dwight at the time of the incidents.
This to me played out in the only way that I can interpret it;
The "investigators" did not want to prove Nathan Dwight innocent because they had a young black man behind bars and that's all they wanted!
This seems like just another typical case of unprofessional investigative procedures by the powers who call themselves professionals.
After Mr. Dwight's incarceration, the same store was robbed again and to the best of my knowledge, the authorities are not even looking for that individual. I guess like the investigator stated ".....We got who we were looking for......". That sure sets off some red flags in my book!
It is also a known fact after I spoke to the Investigator who was "investigating" the second robbery that the video surveillance camera was "NOT" working. How "Convenient" (Hmmmmmm). A logical person should deduce that if if a person owned a store that has a history of being robbed, it would be in their best interests to be sure that the video surveillance camera(s) in the store would always be functional and working correctly.
I am not 100% sure but from the date of Mr. Dwight's arrest (27 August, 2009) to the date of arraignment (7 January, 2010) is not an acceptable time line. My understanding is that the arraignment should take place within 24-72 hours, not 134 days. Speaking to some of the legal minds in Rockdale County, they say "......Oh, that's about right......". I am sorry but to me (and probably most of you out there) this is totally unacceptable. Mr. Dwight did have a commitment hearing on 9 September, 2009 in front of [ Judge Horne ] of Magistrate Court, but 14 days still does not fit within the parameters of the statute.[ What Is A Commitment Hearing? ][ OCGA § 17-4-26 ] [ OCGA §17-4-62 ]
[ Video of TV Statement to The Board of Commissioners - 09/14/10 ][ A Touching Reunion 10/01/10 ]
The District Attorney’s Office offered Mr. Dwight a deal (after being incarcerated for over 10 months). The deal was to serve 2.5 years and 2 years parole. After being incarcerated in solitary for all this time, my personal opinion is that the ADA was wanting to dispose of this case as quickly as possible by offering this deal and have Mr. Dwight admit guilt for these crimes. What the authorities also do is keep these inmates in jail for such a long time pending trial that they would do anything to make a quick deal. The inmates are basically broken down by the system that keeps them for such a long period without a trial. (I may be wrong but I do not feel that being incarcerated for over 10 months is being granted a speedy trial). Mr. Dwight’s answer was short and to the point. He would not take any deal because he did not commit any of the charges pending against him. When this offer was put on the table, the Judge even told the ADA (Assistant District Attorney) Dabney Kentner who was assigned to prosecute the case that she would have one heck of time proving her case with no real evidence.
The trial was set for the week of the 21st of June 2010 with jury selection starting that Monday. The trial lasted until Thursday of that week and jury deliberation only took 3-4 hours to come back with guilty verdicts on all counts.
Just prior to the sentencing, in her closing statement to the Judge, the ADA (Dabney Kentner) indicated that there have been 33 armed robberies in Rockdale County so far this year. In [Judge Nation's] sentencing to Mr. Dwight, he indicated that the armed robberies within Rockdale County were going to stop right here and now. He was going to send a message to any and all who are contemplating robbery that by sending Mr. Dwight to jail for "Life" plus 5 year. The message is very clear not to commit armed robbery in Rockdale County. To me, the message that is being sent is a little different. It tells me that he (The Judge) is making Mr. Dwight (who is totally innocent) an example and scapegoat for all the armed robberies committed..
In the Judge's sentencing he (The Judge) kept stating and restating the fact that Mr. Dwight was given numerous chances to take a plea prior to getting this ludicrous unheard of sentence. Why should an innocent man admit to crimes he did not commit and cower down to the "Pressure" of the "System" so to speak. Nathan is innocent of the crimes he was convicted of and had faith in the system that totally let him down and is trying to destroy his life.
As of July 8th 2010 Mr. Dwight was sentenced to life plus 5 years. (Nathan is now 22 years old and will not be eligible for parole until he is 52 years old). That is 30 years in prison for a young man who is totally innocent of any of the crimes that he was accused and found guilty of. A young man who has dreams and aspirations, including serving in the military, getting further education, getting married, raising a family and becoming a productive member of society have just been shot down by having the system totally fail by sending an innocent man to prison. Once he is paroled he will not be able to function within society. He will of become institutionalized and the only thing he will know is prison.
FYI --- The way the Parole Board works is quite simple. Before you are ever granted parole, you must take responsibility for the crimes you were convicted. If you do not do this, you will not be granted parole. Since Mr. Dwight is not guilty of any of the crimes he was convicted, how can he take responsibility for crimes committed by someone else?
The person who committed the armed robbery was wearing a disguise that consisted of a Jamaican style hat, big sunglasses and a long dreadlock wig under the hat. This person also got away with about 1100 dollars.
Below are just of a few of the inconsistencies and lack of evidence that was never recovered:
No weapon was ever recovered
There was no forensic evidence
The prints that were found on the car that was car-jacked and used in the robbery did not match that of Mr. Dwight. That includes inside and outside of the vehicle
The perpetrator wore a white “T” shirt ----- So does every young person I know
You can go into anyone's home a recover a white "T" shirt
No money was ever recovered
No disguise was recovered
No dreadlock wig was recovered
No Jamaican style hat was ever recovered
No sunglasses were ever recovered
Knowing Mr. Dwight as well as my wife and I do, if he would have had this large sum of money, he would of made a large purchase of an item like a big screen TV, an entertainment center or something of that nature. Nothing to that effect was ever recovered from his apartment or ours for that matter. The only things in his apartment was his bedroom suite which came from his mother's home, a little 19 inch (not even a flat screen) TV and an old couch. So, tell me, where is the money or any large items?
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
The above is basically what the 6th Amendment of the Constitution tells you. Besides being totally innocent, it is of our contention that Mr. Dwight was not afforded and had his 6th Amendment rights violated.
Not granted a speedy trial ---- Being incarcerated from 27 August, 2009 until 21 June, 2010 in not in my opinion being granted a "Speedy Trial".
From the day of initial incarceration (Thursday, August 27, 2009) to the day of his trial (Monday, June 21, 2010),Mr. Dwight was incarcerated and in solitary for 299 days or 9 months and 26 days.
With his solitary confinement, came being "Locked Down" (within a cell with one other cellmate) for 23 hours out of every day
One hour every day of being with the other inmates on solitary lockdown with no outside lighting of any nature at all. There are no windows anywhere!
The only natural lighting he ever gets to see is when he is transported outside the facility.
I ask you, do you actually consider this being granted a "Speedy" trial and humane treatment?
He was not granted an impartial jury of his peers. ---- An all white jury with the exception of one Hispanic (The store that was robbed was a Hispanic store) to a black man is not a jury of his peers.
It appears that blacks are being systematically excluded from jury service in Rockdale County.
I feel it is a direct violation of Mr. Dwight's rights where Mr. Dwight was entitled to an impartial jury of his "Peers" and Rockdale County is ignoring a distinctive ethnic group in the jury selection.
Rockdale's jury pool is a sad excuse for a representation of the demographics of the community.
Even after his conviction and sentence, Mr. Dwight is still on "Lockdown" with the only difference being that he is allowed two (2) hours outside his cell every 24 hours.
I am sorry but to me this is an archaic and barbaric way to treat a human being in today's civilized society.
I would like to question the constitutionality of the local jury selection. My argument is that blacks are being systematically excluded from jury service in Rockdale County. I feel it is a direct violation of Mr. Dwight's rights where Mr. Dwight was entitled to an impartial jury of his "Peers" and Rockdale County is ignoring a distinctive ethnic group in the jury selection.
Rockdale County's jury pool is a sad excuse for a representation of the demographics of the community. The Us Census clearly shows that in 2000 the census in Rockdale County shows a 70,111 county population with 75.7 percent of the population being Caucasian. Rockdale County aligns its jury composition with outdated census data from 2000 which lists the African American population at a mere 18.2 percent. The 2009 population estimate from the Conyers Rockdale Economic Develop Council that showed a county population of 85,106 with whites making up 48.3 percent and blacks at 42.2 percent.
Law requires the jury pool to be aligned with the county's latest census, according to the county's website.[ County Website ][ Local jury pool in major need of an overhaul ][ County jury box fixed; trials start in July ]
Rockdale County GA. is a very diversified county with many ethnic groups. Check the below link from the U.S Census Bureau to see how diversified Rockdale really is. Then ask yourself why the jury was comprised of all white middle aged men and women.[ U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts ]
[ Bella Vista II Robbed Again ][ Courts To Adjust Jury Pools Based on Census - Apr 19, 2011 ][ My Response To Above News Article - Apr 26, 2011 ]
After reading the transcript more times than I want to admit, there are just so many discrepancies, they are too numerous to list. The last count I made was 84 errors if that tells you anything. Just to touch on a few that stick out other what I has already stated in the above sections:
Main witness/victim from the Bella Vista had her statement written by another "victim" in the robbery. I looked at the handwriting and her statement and that of another victim were identical. Only the signatures did not match. This sure sets of some serious red flags to me.
Since all the investigators that went back to the Bella Vista (numerous Times) DID NOT speak or understand Spanish, why did they not do a proper investigation and bring a certified court or police translator.
How does anyone know exactly what was being said between victims and what was put down as a statement.
I know I dwell on this point but to me, it boggles the mind why these so called "sworn statements" should have not been impeached from the start for lack of a certified court/police translator.
Main witness/victim (same person) used a different name in the "second" robbery. (Hmmmmmm)
It has been brought to my attention (4 November 2010) that there were two people that came to my home on 17 August 2009 to see Nathan. The time of this visit was about 8:00 am or thereabouts. They knocked on my door while my wife was taking me to the gym (1.6 miles away), woke Nathan up and physically saw him to ask him a question. These two people were interviewed two or three times by investigators for the prosecution and corroborated the fact that Nathan Dwight was at my home when the prosecution claimed he was in Dekalb County Ga.. These interviews were never disclosed and were never introduced into the trial.
In closing this short dissertation, let me tell you that Mr. Dwight is a young black man and the jury of his "Peers" was comprised of 12 white middle aged white men and women with the exception of one Hispanic (The store that was robbed was a Hispanic store). I ask you truthfully, did Mr. Dwight stand a snowballs chance in Hell of getting even the slightest inclination of a fair trial?
Since I was not allowed inside the court during the trial (this is a ploy that the ADA used to exclude me by giving me a subpoena knowing very well she would not use me) however, my daughter was used by the prosecution as a witness. What the ADA did was to parade my daughter in front of the jury which as you already know was comprised of all white people with the exception of one Hispanic. Since I have power of attorney for Nathan, I learned this by reading the transcript of the trial itself. Six white men were on that jury and by parading my daughter who is a pretty blonde girl in front of the six middle aged white men and the rest, the impression the ADA was showing was that a pretty blonde white girl was friends with a young black man (to a white southern jury this is not acceptable) and that she played on the prejudices of the jury. Besides me reading this in the transcript, it was also brought to my attention by several people who were in attendance for the entire trial. With this being said, Nathan already has one strike against him (by the jury) by being a young black man having the friendship of a pretty blonde white girl.
We have filed a complaint with the Rockdale County Ga. branch of the [ NAACP ] on behalf of Nathan Dwight's plight with the judicial system in Rockdale County. They are in the process of scrutinizing this complain very closely.
Any help and assistance you can offer in this horrible miscarriage of justice would be more appreciated than you could ever imagine. I am asking at this time that anyone who reads this page, please donate at least five dollars to Nathan's cause.
Nathan Dwight Appeal FundPO Box 80472Conyers, GA 30013-9998
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It does not matter who gets the credit, as long as the required effect is achieved. David Lewis Minkoff 1913-1988