A Secret Tooth

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A Secret Tooth

San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, February 26, 1992

EDITORIALS

The official Record that led to a verdict of guilty in about five minutes contained this notation: “Confidential information was considered by the CDC (Center Discipline Committee) and not made available and not provided to resident.”

The evidence, described in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ record as “contraband… found to be positive for amphetamines,” was also kept secret. But Dannie M. Martin finally guessed that the “hard, crystalline substance” discovered in his room in a halfway house was not a drug, but simply a tooth that was replaced in a dentist’s office two months earlier.

Martin’s Parole. Revoked the day it was scheduled to start was restored only when attorney Alan Ellis, serving pro bono, intervened after being alerted by The Chronicle. Only then did a prison dentist confirm that the so-called drug was a tooth.

“He was exonerated,” said Monica Wetzel, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons. “It shows my system works.”

It shows no such thing. Martin was found guilty on the basis of secret evidence, and it took outside intervention to reverse a cruel miscarriage of justice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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