Convicted murderer accuses Madison County prosecutor's office of misconduct

By Bethany Krajelis | May 30, 2013

A convicted murderer has filed a post-conviction petition in Madison County Circuit Court, claiming that the state’s attorney’s office engaged in prosecutorial misconduct that merits his acquittal.

In his recently filed petition, Jeramey Brown asserts that the alleged pattern of prosecutorial misconduct violated his constitutional rights and as such, should result in an outright acquittal, or in the alternative, a new trial.

“There is one consistent theme in the case of Jeramey Brown: ongoi

ng, systemic prosecutorial misconduct,” Brown alleges in his petition. “The State, beginning … in 2001, and continuing on throughout the entirety of these proceedings, has refused to operate within the ethical and legal boundaries of the criminal justice system.”

In 2003, Brown was found guilty of murdering Michael W. Keller of Granite City during a botched burglary at his home in April 2001.

After the appellate court in 2005 reversed his conviction and remanded for a new trial, Brown, who presented an alibi defense at both of his trials, was again found guilty of Keller’s murder in 2008 and sentenced to 75 years in prison.

The appellate court in a 2012 unpublished order affirmed Brown’s conviction and later that year, denied his petition seeking rehearing and a motion to vacate and reassign the matter. The Illinois Supreme Court last year denied his motion for a supervisory order.

Brown claims in his petition for post-conviction relief that “since the moment he was arrested, he has fought to prove his innocence.”

“Little did he know, the State was not only engaging in systematic misconduct, but was also listening to recorded phone calls and reading copies of legal mail between Jeramey and his defense lawyer, ensuring that Jeramey would in no way received a fair trial in Madison County.”

Brown’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct were brought up last year by Hamel attorney Thomas Burkart in his unsuccessful judicial campaign against Circuit Judge Kyle Napp.

He claimed that Napp --who assisted in the prosecution of Brown, but was serving as an associate judge by the time his case went to a second trial --mishandled Brown’s prosecution.

Among other things, Burkart told The Record in November 2012 that he took issue with what he says was illegal wiretapping of Brown’s phone calls to his attorney and the reading of his mail while he was in jail.

Burkart told The Record that he raised the issue because it went to the “competency” of his opponent, saying “she was either knowingly doing something wrong or she was not competent to know.”

In response to Burkart’s claims, Napp told The Record that Burkart’s campaign strategy of bringing up Brown’s case was “disgraceful.”

She said nothing illegal was done in the handling of Brown’s prosecution and said that by law, the State can record phone conversations and read some mail.

Napp said prosecutors had been shown letters that Brown had sent from jail to his family that indicated he was attempting to intimidate witnesses. She also said that “nobody ever listened to conversations of Jeramey Brown and his lawyer.”

Brown asserts in his petition for post-conviction relief that the “State’s purposeful intrusion” into his “communications with his attorney before, during, and after his criminal trial, is sufficient alone to warrant a new trial.”

In violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and due process, Brown claims that the state was able to hear him and his attorney “discuss his alibi, investigative leads, potential witnesses, and defense strategy,” an intrusion he asserts “amounts to a bald disregard for the adversary system and warrants a new trial.”

His petition further asserts that “Madison County jail policies on telephone use are silent as to attorney-client phone calls, and as a result of these unwritten practices, Mr. Brown has successfully obtained a civil settlement due to the monitoring of his priveileged attorney-client communications.”

In addition to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Brown claims he is entitled to post-conviction relief because he was denied due process on appeal based on “a grave and improper conflict of interest” and because he “is actually innocent, as shown by newly discovered evidence that the State’s key witness falsely implicated him.

Brown’s petition, which seeks acquittal or a new trial, also asks the court to docket his petition for further proceedings, grant his accompanying motions for discovery and change of venue or appointment of an un-conflicted prosecuting agency, and hold an evidentiary hearing on the merits of his petition.

Chicago attorneys Amanda N. Graham and Katie J. Kizer submitted the petition on Brown’s behalf.

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