From the West Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling released Tuesday, November 10, 2015:
“This Court is presented with a situation in which a defendant repeatedly requested the results of DNA testing; was incorrectly informed that such testing was not yet complete; and was presented with a time-limited plea offer that he accepted upon advice of counsel. We find that the DNA results were favorable, suppressed, and material to the defense. Thus, the Petitioner’s due process rights, as enunciated in Brady, were violated by the State’s suppression of that exculpatory evidence.”
Further, “…This Court…remands this matter for an order granting habeas relief and permitting the Petitioner to withdraw his guilty plea.”
The West Virginia Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Buffey v. Ballard, reversing the June 3, 2014, order of the Circuit Court of Harrison County, enables Joseph A. Buffey to withdraw his 2002 guilty plea in the case of the rape of an 83-year-old woman and requires the prosecutor to either retry the case or Continue reading
Posted in Commissions/Innocence Commissions/Governmental Case Review Agencies, Compensation/Exoneree compensation, New Evidence, Prosecutorial conduct (good and bad), Reforming/Improving the system, wrongful conviction
Tagged Brady, Brady Violation, compensation, compensation legislation, exoneree compensation, new trial, prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful conviction
In Canada, a wrongfully convicted man has been exonerated 45 years after being convicted of manslaughter…
Lincoln Caplan argues in the New Yorker that a recent SCOTUS ruling, overturning a Ninth Circuit decision calling for the retrial or release of a California inmate on death row, will have dire effects on prisoner rights…
New evidence of prosecutorial misconduct may be the key to overturning former No Limit rapper’s manslaughter conviction…
In Kansas, protesters aim to raise awareness for those who are wrongfully convicted…
Posted in Exonerations, New Evidence
Tagged AEDPA, Antiterrorism andn Effective Death Penalty Act, Brady, Brady Violation, canada, Death Penalty, habeas corpus, lincoln caplan, new yorker, prosecutorial misconduct, SCOTUS, supreme court
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.” ….
A New York Times editorial yesterday properly urged that the Justice Department require federal prosecutors’ files be open to the defense. While Brady v Maryland requires disclosure of exculpatory evidence, too often prosecutors at all levels skirt this requirement and courts dismiss the undisclosed information as not “material,” a subjective call that can be flawed as revealed in many DNA-proven wrongful convictions.
As the editorial points out, 96% of federal cases are resolved in plea bargains. The lax application and court enforcement of Brady puts defendants at the considerable disadvantage of not knowing the evidence against them in plea negotiating. The editorial advocates an open files federal rule, which would be an important example for the states.
Ohio and North Carolina were mentioned as two states that now have open files rules. At the state level this requires leadership; Ohioans can thank the late Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who championed this rule change, adopted by the high court’s rules committee in July 2010.