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AN EVER GROWING BAND OF BELIEVERS

September 1, 2004

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a former correction officer who worked at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, for seven years, a maximum-security facility for women located near New York City. I resigned my position and took an early retirement as of October 21, 2003. In the course of my employment, I have had the opportunity to observe many people and come to recognize the criminal element first hand. And while there are countless inmates who I personally know are a danger to society and belong in prison, there are also inmates, who in my opinion, the system has solemnly failed in the serving of justice. Ms. Laurie Kellogg, an inmate I became acquainted with at Bedford Hills, stands out among them all.

After working with Ms. Kellogg for several years, observing her various predicaments, joys, misfortunes and challenges, I could not help but come to know her very well. She strenuously denied her involvement in the crime she was convicted for, and resolutely pled her cause with class and poise. I was naturally quite dubious at first but in time not only began to give careful consideration to her assertions, but could not deny the rationale and evidence she marshaled to make her argument. And sustaining her defense was a quality of conduct and attitude, which keenly distinguished her from the general inmate population. She was in fact different -a key dynamic that compelled me to listen to her in the first place. Kellogg was a model prisoner with unimpeachable morals and an extraordinary level of sheer integrity, uncommon in society much less in prison. She ultimately won my unqualified respect, heartfelt sympathy and perfect trust.

Ms. Kellogg is presently at the mercy of a vast alliance of unscrupulous individuals, who without compassion or conscience, carelessly abuse a power that they have not merited by temperament or training, and visit their cruelty upon whomever they choose. I know because I personally worked with these people. She has had to endure multiple injustices including severe verbal intimidation, relentless emotional abuse, and filthy sexual harassment. Notwithstanding, Laurie Kellogg is an asset to the prison community and the furthest thing from a security risk, I know that too, because I was there. Since my retirement, she has been corresponding with my wife and I through the mail as often as possible for the encouragement and hope our concern for her situation brings.

I have invested considerable time and energy reviewing hundreds of pages of critical case documents including the court transcripts of Ms. Kellogg's trial and an intimidating complex of related legal paper work. I have also gone out of my way to confer with attorneys and private investigators about this case, who basically concur with my conclusion that Laurie Kellogg does not belong in prison. Two of these seasoned professionals have investigated Laurie's case pro bono and have gone as far as to put their conclusions in writing. Let me say categorically, that the net effect of my experience and investigation is my thorough persuasion, in my heart, that this woman is innocent of the crime for which she has been convicted and has forfeited 13 years of her life serving a 25 years to Life sentence.

Accordingly, I have been able to rally a small coalition of supporters who are working to win Ms. Kellogg a new trial where evidence not introduced at her first proceeding can be brought on her behalf and exonerate her. It is an uphill battle and any help you can give to this effort is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Officer Andy De Mers
NYSDOCS
(Retired)



August 14, 2004

To Whom It May Concern,

I recently wrote a carefully researched, sizeable story about Wrongful Criminal Convictions for the April, 2004 issue of Word Magazine, a publication for which I serve in an editorial capacity. While I was aware of the problem prior to the story, the scope of the crisis had eluded me. My investigation confirmed that Wrongful Criminal Convictions are slowly eroding the bedrock of our criminal justice system, and present a grave and glaring challenge to those at its helm.

During the course of my research, I became convinced that one of the inmates whose case I profiled in depth, Ms. Laurie Kellogg, was in fact innocent of the crime she has been convicted of. I was so deeply moved by the inequity of what she has endured, that I have put my reputation on the line and joined a small band of supporters who are attempting to get Ms. Kellogg's conviction overturned. The case was very high profile, dominating local headlines and even inspiring ABC to produce a movie about it, (Lies of the Heart, The Laurie Kellogg Story).

We have enlisted the support of a post-conviction attorney, Ms. Mary Ann DeBari, who reviewed the record along with a plethora of additional legal documents, interviewed Laurie and is convinced of her innocence. She maintains that Kellogg is a candidate for a CPL 440.10, and that the evidence is out there to win her a new trial via this motion. It is my understanding that this lawyer was willing to undertake this exhausting endeavor when she was stricken with cancer and found to be allergic to the chemo. Still, she has written us a letter of support and wants to do all she is able to.

Like many wrongful conviction cases I have reviewed for this assignment, her lawyer (I believe a public defender), had either never tried a murder case or maybe just one before Laurie's. I have been told that he admitted on the record, that he should not have done some things he did and didn't do some things he should have. In addition, testimony that should have been introduced at trial and may have resulted in a different verdict never was, (the basis for the 440.10).

Furthermore, a nationally acclaimed investigator Mr. Gil Alba, (just named investigator of the year by an association of his peers), who has consulted on camera for many networks, has also interviewed Laurie pro bono, and feels she should be released. Alba, a 28 year NYPD veteran, has, like DiBari, put his impressions on paper too.

Mr. Andy De Mers is a retired Correction Officer who worked on Ms. Kellogg's cell block some six years and while dubious at first, eventually came to believe her claims. In fact, De Mers is so thoroughly convinced of her innocence, that he is actually leading the charge in the effort to prove it. Accordingly, I am trying to cooperate with this small coalition of concerned people to help bring much needed publicity to bear upon this unthinkable nightmare, an attract a legal team with the integrity and grit to take Ms. Kellogg's case down to the bone - a difficult and daunting task.

From my limited vantage point, it is bad enough for Laurie Kellogg to ride out what overwhelmingly appears to be an illegitimate conviction, produced by poor investigative work and defective representation at the trial level. But what may be the greater and more imposing issue is that she was a disposable commodity and very convenient scapegoat for an overburdened and possibly politicized system that was willing to look the other way to franchise "drive-by-justice." And if it can happen to her, as unlikely as it seems, it can happen to us. I reviewed countless cases that eclipsed both reason and decency while I researched this topic, and sat transfixed as unbridled power flexed its muscle to trump the rights of innocent Americans.

If you can support this effort in any way, would like more information or a copy of the story, feel free to call me on my cell phone (716) 316-1569. Thank you very much.

Respectfully,

Rick Kern
Editor, Word Magazine
Buffalo Edition



Dear Mr. Kern,

RE: Wrongful Conviction: Laurie Kellogg

Thank you for your conscientious interest in the Laurie Kellogg case. Like you and many others steeped in her case, I too believe that gross injustice hurled Ms. Kellogg into prison after wrongfully convicting her at trial. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly apparent that:

1. systematic misconduct by the prosecution tainted Ms. Kellogg's trial and pre-trial proceedings;

2. multiple teen witnesses - testifying for the people - had motive and disposition to lie;

3. an avalanche of negative publicity prejudiced the jury unfairly; and, in addition,

4. trail counsel failed woefully to defend Ms. Kellogg against overzealous and selective prosecution.

Taken together, all of the above convey a malodorous stench in the people's case against Laurie Kellogg. Justice demands more.

A compelling motion to vacate the conviction pursuant to Article 440 of New York's criminal procedure law (CPL 440.10) is sorely needed. So too, is a qualified team.

I am amendable to assist in that effort to the extent I am physically able.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Ann Di Bari, Attorney, pro bono publico


ALBA INVESTIGATIONS


Dear Mr. Kern;

Because of a former Correction Officer who whole-heartedly believes that Laurie Kellogg is completely innocent, I decided to get involved and help. I went and interviewed Laurie in prison on two occasions, met with Correction Officer, Andy De Mers and Attorney, Mary Ann Di Bari on other occasions. Our goal is to get Laurie released from prison, but we can't do it alone. We need volunteers, we need money and we need the best professionals in the legal industry.

Laurie Kellogg is serving 25 to life and to this point has served 13 years. THAT'S ENOUGH!!!

As for myself before founding Alba Investigations, I had a distinguished career with the New York City Police Department. During my 28 years of service, I attained the highest investigative rank, First Grade Detective, and worked with the FBI/NYPD Task Force specializing in difficult and unusual cases.

In May of 2004, I was selected by the Association License Detectives of New York State (ALDONYS) as "Investigator of the Year."

Regards,

Gil Alba
President
Alba Investigations

CHANNEL 2
WGRZ-TV BUFFALO


Dear Mr. Kern,

It has come to my attention that you and a group of grassroots activists are pursuing a venture to vacate Laurie Kellogg's criminal conviction and win her a new trial. Due to the high profile of her case, I feel this could be a very newsworthy undertaking.

Accordingly, I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to keep me abreast of any new developments. I cannot make any firm commitments at this point, but I would like to consider a news story as it develops.

Thank you for your kind consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Jodi Johnston,
News Anchor
WGRZ Channel 2
Buffalo