The Supreme Court of the State of Washington handed down this morning a decision to grant a new trial to a death row inmate, Darold Stenson. Read: In re PRP of Darold Stenson.
Stenson raised a due process claim based on alleged violations of Brady v. Maryland. The Court held that the State violated Stenson’s rights under the mandates of Brady and its progeny, and it reversed his aggravated first degree murder conviction as well as the sentence of death and remanded for a new trial. Read the news here.
Excerpt: Stenson, convicted in the 1993 slayings of his wife and business partner, is due a new trial because prosecutors failed to share evidence with his attorneys prior to trial, the eight-justice majority ruled.
Stenson will not be released following Thursday’s decision, which was authored by Justice Gerry Alexander. He is expected to face a second trial in Clallam County.
“We are left with the fact that constitutionally significant mistakes were made in Stenson’s trial, resulting in imposition of the ultimate punishment without the full benefit of due process protections,” Alexander wrote in the majority opinion. “The question here is not whether Stenson has proved his innocence.” ….
ALWAYS read the footnotes ☺
Because the court did not rule on the claimed error does not mean that it did not occur.
1Because we reverse Stenson’s convictions and death sentence on the basis
that the State violated Brady, we do not address Stenson’s argument based on Napue,
360 U.S. 264, that the State “committed intentional acts of misconduct at trial by
permitting false and misleading evidence and argument to be presented to the jury.”
Pet’r’s Br. Addressing Reference Ct.’s Findings at 20.