It’s been nearly a year since former Odessa police officer Barry Cooper set up a fake drug house to sting the Odessa Police Department on his reality show “Kop Busters.”
Today, the family that hired Cooper and his crew to set up the sting are getting what they want – another hearing for their daughter, Yolanda Madden.
Yolanda Madden was arrested and convicted of federal drug charges in 2005, but their family says the drugs were planted and they’ve got the evidence to prove it.
Today, they got the chance to present some of that at an evidentiary hearing at the Federal Court in Midland.
Last year, Kop Busters’ Barry Cooper set out to show that the Odessa Police Department obtains search warrants illegally, but he also wanted to raise publicity for what Yolanda Madden’s family says is a wrongful conviction.
“I’m excited that we had a hand in getting Yolanda to this point, but I’m bitter of the pain that this has caused Yolanda and her kids, and her family. So it’s bitter-sweet to me,” Cooper said.
Many in attendance hoped today’s hearing would change things for the Madden family… but a decision has yet to be reached.
“I’m not happy with the hearing today, because I fully expected Yolanda to be released today, to go back to her kids and family for Thanksgiving,” Cooper said.
For some family members, it was their first time to see Yolanda in quite a while.
“Her family’s in there, her grandmother’s in there, her kids are in there, and she comes in there shackled like a dog. That’s absolutely uncalled for,” Cooper said.
She testified today, along with two of the police officers, whom the family says intentionally framed Yolanda for her possession charges. But the judge made it clear that the purpose of today’s hearing was only to take a second look at evidence that could have changed the outcome of the original trial.
“I think it went as well as we could expect. The judge limited us to a very small part of a 2255 hearing,” Madden’s father Raymond Madden said.
They presented some of the forms from the booking phase of Yolanda’s arrest, which they say were tampered with, and shouldn’t hold up in the court of law.
“If we would have had some information that we didn’t have at that time, and there was a lot of information that we did not get from the prosecution. If we would have had that information, would that trial have been different? The answer today is that it would have absolutely been different,” Madden said.
There was no ruling made in the hearing today.
The judge asked the defense attorneys to submit a closing brief by next Friday, and the government representation to present theirs a week later.
From there, the judge will decide whether or not the evidence is strong enough to warrant a re-trial for Yolanda Madden.
– Article from CBS 7 News on November 25, 2009.