The Midwestern Innocence Project, Photo provided by The Kansas City Star
The Midwestern Innocence Project: White¿s story has an apparent happy ending - FREEDOM. Nevertheless, it is how he ended up in prison, staying through three traumatic trials, that raises momentous questions about how our Law Enforcement and Justice Systems works for the American citizens. White¿s attorney, Sean O¿Brien, stated, ¿This case highlights what can happen when crucial evidence is withheld from a defendant. The ultimate tragedy here is that Ted White had to suffer the agony of being imprisoned for seven years for a crime that he didn¿t commit ¿ and miss out on seven years of his life.¿ The case of Ted White Jr. is evidence that the Justice System both functions and breaks down.
White was a successful businessman living the American dream in Lee¿s Summit, Missouri. Unfortunately, in 1998, White¿s American dream started to unravel rapidly as he and his wife at that time began divorce proceedings. During the divorce proceeding, White was accused of, and later charged with, molesting his adopted daughter. The nightmare began when White was convicted of the molestation even after proving his innocence of this horrific crime. White fled to Costa Rica. In due time, he was caught, brutally beaten in a foreign prison, and then extradited back to Missouri. Given that he fled to another country, White initially lost his American rights to appeal the conviction. Miraculously, White successfully won an appeal under a rarely-used exception to the No-Appeal Rule.
Meanwhile, after strenuous long hours of hard work of MIP board members, Sean O¿Brien and UMKC Law School Dean Ellen Suni, White was rightfully granted an appeal due to the prosecution¿s failure to disclose significant and vital information. This lead to a second trial. Unfortunately one holdout juror prevented the jury from reaching a unanimous No-Guilty verdict. Finally, a long-awaited third trial resulted in White¿s exoneration. White gratefully walked out a FREE MAN after serving a grueling injustice of seven years in a world of darkness ¿ PRISON!
O¿Brien admirably represented White during his second and third trials. Since then evidence has revealed that the detective whom investigated the horrifying allegation of the molestation was romantically involved with White¿s previous wife, the biological mother of the alleged victim. More noteworthy evidence comes from a diary written by White¿s adopted daughter. During the time of the supposed crime, the diary was reviewed by the detective, but returned without disclosing the diary¿s existence to either White or his attorneys. Compounding matters, the diary discreetly and silently disappears. As a final point, the detective was asked during a deposition whether he had an interest in the outcome of White¿s case. The prosecuting attorney allowed him to testify that he had no personal interest in the results of the case. Nonetheless, the prosecuting attorney was aware of the investigator¿s romantic relationship with White¿s wife during the deposition.
On February 7, 2005 White regained his American FREEDOM and innocence after jurors voted 12¿0! In March, 2005, White¿s attorneys filed suit against the city of Lee¿s Summit, the Police Chief and the Detective who worked on White¿s case, as well as his ex-wife (who married the detective while White was in prison). After 10 years, Ted, Jr. finally received justice.
On August 29, 2008, Ted Jr. along with his attorneys, Brian McCallister and Cyndy Short, McCallister Law Firm; Mike Kanovitz, Lovey & Lovey; and Scott Pettit, Pettit & Pettit Law Office received a verdict in which Detective Richard McKinley and Tina McKinley was convicted of conspiracy. Their malicious scheme was finally uncovered. A settlement and punitive damages against the city of Lee¿s Summit, Richard and Tina McKinley was granted to Ted Jr. Unfortunately, an appeal is pending which will take approximately two years.