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Version 3.8
Copyright 2001-2008
JusticeForWoody.net site last revised 1/17/06
fair use notice

Killing Reaction Cases Evidence Analysis Media Woody

Conflicts of Interest: Dan Davis

Until January 19th, the local arm of the investigation into the shooting was being conducted Windham County State's Attourney Dan Davis. Davis made a number of statements on the day of the shooting and days immediately following it including:

They shoot when they believe their life is threatened or the lives of others is endangered.

indicating he has decided the police are inherently justified in shooting someone, whatever the particular facts, and followed that with the statement:

There was a movement with the knife itself and movements made by Mr. Woodward that the officers perceived as a threat to themselves and-or the congregation.

indicating he has already decided what the facts of this case are, and that they justified the shooting. Davis also apparently tried to discredit the voicemail message of Woody's agony saying, according to press reports, that investigators believed Woodward made no phone calls after he was shot. It was difficult to consider Davis investigation credible when Davis:

  • repeated key elements of the State Police press release, indicating a determination of legal justification of the killing the day after the event.
  • had in January around 450 cases pending involving Brattleboro police officers as his witnesses.
  • has (at least) a professional relationship with the shooting officers Holbrook and Parker
  • is a former police officer.
  • was rebuked by a district judge for sloppy legal work.
Davis claimed he could be an impartial prosecutor because he only has a 'professional', and not a 'social' relationship with the officers. Despite the obvious conflicts of interest in Dan Davis leading the investigation, he did not recuse himself from the investigation until January 19th, fourty-eight days after the shooting. Since no other prosecutor was appointed to take over the 'local branch' of the investigation, the pretense of multiple investigations was quietly abandonded and the Attorney General's office took over the whole investigation.

Although Davis had conflicts of interest in the case, he was willing recuse himself, even if for reasons other than those given here. The Attorney General apparently does not have a similar level of integrity, as he has failed to admit to the conflicts of interest in his office, and pooh-poohed the need for reforms.


page last modified: 2005-12-14