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Exposing the Truth: Jim Pittman’s Dubious Testimony and the Quest for Justice

April 3, 2024
By Joe Hunt

John, a visitor to this website, posed an intriguing question:

“I am very sympathetic to Joe’s case. As a retired lawyer, I know enough about Joe’s case to recognize that the trial judge seemed biased against him. However, for many, the stumbling block in sympathizing with Joe’s cause is Jim Pittman’s detailed admission of the alleged Ron Levin murder. Could Joe address this?”

My family referred this question to me. Here is my response.

The Early 1990s: Case Dismissals and Pittman’s Extradition

This post takes me back 30 years to the early 1990s. The San Mateo case was dismissed after the jury deadlocked 8-4 in my favor. Shortly thereafter, the Special Prosecution Unit of the California Department of Justice dismissed charges against my co-defendant, Jim Pittman.

Jim Pittman

Charges against Pittman in Los Angeles regarding Ronald Levin’s disappearance had been dropped after a 1988 trial ended with the jury deadlocked 10-2 in Pittman’s favor. However, following the San Mateo case dismissal, Pittman wasn’t released. Instead, he was extradited to West Virginia to face pending Grand Theft Auto charges. Unbeknownst to me, Pittman had stolen a car and fled West Virginia before we met in 1983.

Around 1994, my private investigator, William Divita of San Mateo County, relayed disturbing news. Pittman, in jail in West Virginia awaiting trial, explained his failing kidneys necessitated his release to settle affairs. He wanted $20,000 from me to reject a deal offered by authorities, influenced by the Beverly Hills Police Department. He threatened to accept the deal if I didn’t pay, mentioning a potential financial offer from TV producers for corroborating the State’s case.

Despite having the funds, I’ve always had a policy against yielding to threats. I refused Pittman’s ultimatum.

I instructed Mr. Divita to document his conversations with Pittman and to record future interactions. I asked him to inform Pittman of my refusal without explanation. I still possess the investigator’s reports and recordings in storage. Mr. Divita remains active as a P.I. in San Mateo County.

Pittman’s “Confession” and the Futile Search in Soledad Canyon

Months later, on “A Current Affair,” I watched Pittman “confess” to align with the State’s theory. The show featured Pittman guiding BHPD officers and a forensics team to Soledad Canyon, where he and I allegedly buried Levin. The episode revealed their futile search — no body, quick-lime, or shotgun pellets were found.

The State’s theory, based on a hoax, was that Levin was buried after being shot and covered in quick-lime. This fabrication was intended to intimidate a rival faction within the BBC. Pittman’s inability to produce a body in Soledad Canyon highlighted the farce.

If Joe’s story has moved you, share this article to raise awareness. The more people know, the stronger the push for a re-examination of his case. Use your voice on social media to advocate for transparency and fairness in the legal system.

The Flawed Approach of Immunity Deals

The State’s approach to witnesses, offering deals in exchange for corroborative testimony, is deeply flawed. In Pittman’s case, the BHPD proposed dropping his theft charges if he supported their theory.

Pittman’s proffered testimony was a mere echo of Dean Karny’s story, necessary for his freedom. However, immunity deals undermine truth, as desperation for freedom can lead to false testimonies.

I stood against Pittman’s blackmail attempt, adhering to my principle of non-cooperation with evil. Consequently, none of Pittman’s statements under the deal were admissible, as he was never cross-examined.

Had Pittman testified in a retrial, his inconsistent narrative would likely have led to my exoneration. The story he told was implausible, revealing no actual murder had occurred.

The Lack of Governance in Immunity Deals and Abuse of Power

Immunity deals are an institutionalized aspect of American “justice.” What is particularly troubling is their lack of governance by any legal or regulatory framework. Wisely used, they can be pragmatic in bringing sophisticated criminals to justice. However, if the core elements of the story remain uncorroborated even after the deal, immunity can become a way to incentivize and suborn perjury. Clearly, in the case of James Pittman, that’s what occurred.

The Beverly Hills Police Department, anxious about Joe potentially being granted a retrial and aware that over 40 neutral citizen witnesses corroborated Levin’s absconding, exploited the desperation of a dying man to support their murder theory. They may claim on camera that offering Pittman a deal was necessary because they perceived Hunt’s release as a public safety threat, but this is merely a superficial justification for what was an abuse of government power.

Fittingly, the State did not benefit from their Faustian deal with Pittman.

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