EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Preview of the State's Appellate Brief in the Adnan Syed Case

It's currently five days before the State's first brief is due in the Adnan Syed appeal. The State is appealing the portion of Judge Welch's order concluding that

Syed's trial counsel's failure to challenge the State's cell phone location data evidence, based on the cell phone provider's "disclaimer," violated Syed's Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel

My biggest question is whether the State will be able to cite to any case other than Maryland. v. Kulbicki to support its position. And that's because I don't think Kulbicki is especially helpful to the State's case.

Continue reading

February 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, February 20, 2017

In My Opinion: My Review of "The Good Fight" Premiere

Early in the first episode of "The Good Fight," Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie) asks Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), "Are we on the right side of this?" The two are defending Cook County in a lawsuit alleging police brutality against an African-American man. Rindell's career is just starting; Baranski's career is just ending. But when Rindell's hedge fund father is busted for facilitating a Ponzi scheme, both find themselves beginning anew at the African-American law firm they had just been fighting against. And, as the first episode makes clear, the question for both women is suggested by the series title: What does it mean to fight the good fight?

Good Fight

Continue reading

February 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Article of Interest: Julia Simon-Kerr's "Credibility by Proxy"

Back in November 2014, Julia Simon-Kerr, an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, did a series of guest posts on this blog (see here). Those posts were about one of my favorite subjects covered by the rules of evidence: impeachment, the process by which a party calls into question the credibility of a witness. Part of what makes this subject so intriguing is that it requires judgment calls over what acts of a person bear upon that person's honesty, integrity, and credibility. Is a person with a violent past less credible than a person who has never harmed a fly? And what about a history or drug abuse? Prostitution? Gambling?

Continue reading

February 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Short Podcast on the Court of Appeals of Maryland's Landmark Bail Ruling

I did a short podcast about the Court of Appeals of Maryland's landmark bail ruling:

[Note: To prevent the audio from glitching, you'll have to right click on the link below and download or open it in iTunes.]

Download Maryland Bail Decision

-CM

February 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Short Podcast About the Michael Peterson/"The Staircase" Case

I did a short podcast about yesterday's news in the Michael Peterson/"The Staircase" case

[Note: To prevent the audio from glitching, you'll have to right click on the link below and download or open it in iTunes.]

Download Staircase

-CM

February 8, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Quick Look at the Application for Leave to Appeal the Bail Decision in the Adnan Syed Case

On Friday, Justin Brown filed an application seeking leave to appeal Judge Welch's denial of the defense's motion for release pending appeal in the Adnan Syed case. I'm in the process of finalizing the first in a series of Undisclosed episodes about a South Carolina case, so my analysis of this application will be briefer than usual.

Continue reading

January 30, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Possibly the Two Most Important Parts of COSA's upcoming opinion in the Adnan Syed Case

As I noted on Wednesday, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (COSA) will consider five or six issue in the Adnan Syed case:

1.    Did Judge Welch abuse his discretion in hearing the cell tower claim;

2.    Did Adnan waive the cell tower claim;

3.    If Adnan waived the cell tower claim, should the court excuse the waiver;

4.    Did Judge Welch err in finding ineffective assistance of counsel on the cell tower claim;

5.    Did Judge Welch err in finding no ineffective assistance/prejudice on the Asia/alibi claim; and

6.    Did Judge Welch err in not doing a cumulative prejudice analysis?

If we're operating under the assumption that the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Maryland's highest court) will allow the losing party to appeal COSA's opinion, then COSA's opinion on issues #1 and #3 might be he most important. Why?

Continue reading

January 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (16)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Watkins v. State and Jury Impeachment in Georgia

In yesterday's Undisclosed episode, we noted how the defense team filed an application for writ of habeas corpus in the Joey Watkins case. We also noted how, amazingly, the case that most strongly supports Joey's appeal is actually another Georgia case by the name of Watkins v. State. We discussed this case a bit in the episode, but I thought I'd flesh out that discussion in this post (Note: don't read past the fold if you haven't yet listened to the episode).

Continue reading

January 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Court of Special Appeals Grants the State & Adnan Leave to Appeal

Today, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued an order that mainly did two things:

(1) granted the State leave to appeal the portion of Judge Martin Welch's order granting Adnan Syed a new trial based upon his cell tower/ineffective assistance of counsel claim; and

(2) granted the defense cross-leave to appeal the portion of Judge Welch's order denying Adnan a new trial based upon his alibi/ineffective assistance claim.

So, what does all this mean? 

Continue reading

January 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Allen Charge Project: Kansas

The key Kansas case on the Allen Charge is State v. Salts, 200 P.3d 464 (Kan. 2009).

Continue reading

January 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Allen Charge Project: Iowa

They key Iowa case on the Allen Charge is State v. Campbell, 294 N.W.2d 803 (Iowa 1980).

Continue reading

January 6, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Allen Charge Project: Indiana

The key Indiana case regarding the Allen Charge is Lewis v. State, 424 N.E.2d 107 (Ind. 1981).

Continue reading

January 4, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 30, 2016

What it Means to Say That There Still is "Compelling" Evidence Against Adnan Syed

One portion of Judge Welch's opinion that has caught the eyes and ears of readers and listeners is this one:

The circuit court finds that the nature and circumstances of the offenses are the most serious in nature and there still is compelling evidence against Petitioner.[FN5]

FN5 Although the State characterizes the cell phone evidence against Petitioner as strong, the circuit court notes that this evidence was the basis of the circuit court's grant of post-conviction relief and likely would be offered and attacked differently at a new trial.

So, what should we take away from Judge Welch's statement that "there still is compelling evidence against Petitioner"? 

Continue reading

December 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (14)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

An Analysis of Judge Welch's Opinion Denying Adnan Syed Release Pending the State's Appeal

Today, Judge Welch issued a Memorandum Opinion denying Adnan Syed's motion for release pending the State's appeal of Judge Welch's prior opinion granting Adnan a new trial. As I've noted before, this was the likeliest result, but there were also aspects of Judge Welch's opinion that are promising in terms of Adnan's future chances of release pending (re)trial.

Continue reading

December 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (11)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: Idaho

The key Idaho case on the Allen Charge is State v. Flint, 761 P.2d 1158 (Idaho 1988).

Continue reading

December 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: Hawai'i

They key Hawai'i case on the Allen Charge is State v. Farjado, 699 P.2d 20 (Hawai'i 1985).

Continue reading

December 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: Georgia

The key Georgia case on the Allen Charge seems to be Anderson v. State, 276 S.E.2d 603 (Ga. 1981).

Continue reading

December 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: Florida

They key Florida case on the Allen Charge is State v. Bryan, 290 So.2d 482 (Fla. 1999).

Continue reading

December 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: D.C.

They key D.C. case on the Allen Charge is Winters v. United States, 317 A.2d 530 (D.C. 1974).

Continue reading

December 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Allen Charge Project: Delaware

The key Delaware case on the Allen Charge is Collins v. State, 56 A.3d 1012 (Del. 2012). 

Continue reading

December 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)