St. Clair County’s Approach to Defending a Wrongful Conviction

Dodge & Ignore, Distract & Demonize, Spin & Lie

(Editor’s Note: The author, Fredrick Freeman, was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Scott Macklem, who was shot in a Port Huron Community College parking lot on November 5, 1986. More information on this case can be found here.)

Greetings. This piece is intended to shed clear light on the travesty of justice perpetrated by the Port Huron PD and the St. Clair County Prosecutor. Together, they have spent more than 31 years defending the indefensible: their outrageous misconduct leading to my conviction. Their shameful defense of that miscarriage of justice is proof-positive of their knowledge; not of my guilt, but of their own malfeasance and duplicity. Their four defense tactics are:


1) Dodge & Ignore the facts

They consistently refuse any interviews. There has been significant media coverage of my wrongful conviction: hundreds of supportive news articles, dozens of investigations by active and retired State and Federal law enforcement, publicly supportive commentary by honored members of the Courts, multiple television programs, an award-winning documentary and an episode of Investigation Discovery’s Reasonable Doubt. Their response? Persistently hiding their heads in the sand and posting nonsense amounting to “because he was convicted, he is guilty.”


The facts include that

  • there were many credible alibi witnesses including the person who was with me for hours before and after the murder which happened 500 miles away from our location,

  • she and I both passed polygraphs which they originally fought to keep us from taking,

  • someone else’s' fingerprints were found on a shell and shell box,

  • the prosecution created a ridiculous theory that I was able to secretly charter an airplane, in a desperate attempt to thwart the unshakable alibi evidence,

  • according to the victim’s friends, he was being stalked and harassed by two men for weeks prior to the crime, and

  • dozens of unbiased, independent expert opinions support my complete innocence. These include former and currently sitting judges, prosecutors, members of the Michigan State Police and Port Huron's own former Chief Homicide Detective.

These facts deserve a response.


2) Distract & Demonize

Instead they fall back on the same, tired, empty rhetoric and hyperbole. Instead of discussing the facts, they distract with ridiculous, unfounded and insane character attacks. Even a distinguished Court of Appeals Judge criticized this approach. They do all this with the shameless objective of vilifying me so others won't care about what they did; not just to me, but to the victim, whose killer walks free to this day.


3) The Spin

There are thousands of people whose innocence is proven only after decades in prison and scores of failed appeals. But they justify my literal death sentence by arguing that I must be guilty because my appeals have not yet resulted in my release. What that really means is that our system needs prompt, serious reforms; not that I’m guilty. They spin the facts to a reverse reality: I am guilty until proven innocent. I have been proven innocent but they hold the keys to the courthouse.


4) Just Lie

Lying about the actual facts of this case has become second nature to these public servants. Attempting to establish a motive, they fabricated a story that I was a "jealous boyfriend" of the victim’s fiancée. This fabrication occurred after prosecutor Robert Cleland realized that his original motive theory - that I wanted to intimidate the victim’s fiancée into my “secret ninja organization” - was too incredible. I dated this girl briefly in June of 1986. We never saw one another again. She did not become involved with the victim until after that time. She and her mother both testified to as much at trial! I had moved 500 miles away and was expecting my first child with a steady girlfriend, not running a secret ninja organization. Realizing how insipidly the "ninja story" was related to the jury, I was transformed to the "jealous boyfriend"!


As to my appeals, many have been "rubber-stamped" without full review. It is an outrageous lie to suggest otherwise. In 2010, the United States District Court did a full review and the Honorable Denise Page Hood ruled that I was completely innocent of this crime since there was no evidence of guilt or even involvement. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals prohibited this from being a “final” decision in 2012 strictly on procedural grounds, never addressing my actual innocence.


The truth is, Federal Judge Denise Page Hood is not the only respected jurist brave enough to recognize the truth and support my innocence. Other judges who have reviewed my case on their own volition and agreed with Judge Hood’s conclusion include: Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Douglas Shapiro, MI Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack, MI Supreme Court Justice Bernstein and former MI Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Brennan. Justice Brennan has long defended me and called this “the worst case of wrongful conviction” he has ever seen.


They threatened my then-pregnant girlfriend, and primary alibi witness. They fed information to, and made secret deals with a paid jailhouse snitch. The snitch later confessed to this deceit on video and led us to documents that prove this corruption. They created and used falsified lineup photos. They used a falsified photo board at trial. They subsequently lied about their creation and use of this falsified evidence at trial. They denied the very existence of this falsified “evidence” for over 25 years. Through grace and karma, their deceit has been revealed and plays a huge role in my continued fight for justice.


Despite this, the St. Clair County Prosecutor and the Port Huron Police have never done a follow-up investigation of any kind. We have reached out to them dozens of times but they lack the courage to even speak to anyone supporting my fight. Many believe this is because they’ve known since 1986, that I was innocent.


The truth is simple and irrefutable: I am completely, factually, actually, legally, 100% innocent of any involvement in any aspect of this crime. St. Clair County secured a conviction through an a mixture of arrogance, corruption, planning, narrow focus, collusion, dishonesty, suborning perjury, witness intimidation, deceit, evidence withholding, demonizing, faked lineup photos, and using a hypnotized and completely discredited "witness to nothing". They also assigned a previously fired, crooked, mob-involved police officer to "investigate" the murder. He had no experience in a homicide investigation. He tampered with and failed to secure the crime scene. He didn’t look for witnesses. They deliberately appointed a defense attorney who was a former, disgraced prosecutor; and a known thief, drunk and convicted crack addict. Clearly, their real intention was not to solve the crime; rather, to pin it on me.


I'm not the one hiding or refusing to answer questions. I'm not the one afraid of the truth and I'm not the one who took the life of Scott Macklem. I'm not the one who framed an innocent man and sent him to prison to die for a crime he did not and could not have committed. That is my truth, and that is THE truth.


My deepest gratitude to those who keep believing in and defending me.


"Never give in! We are bound to win!"

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