EvidenceProf Blog

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

Monday, March 10, 2008

He Deserves A Break Today, Take 3: Alton Logan To Have New Trial Hearing Today

I thought yesterday's 60 Minutes piece about the Alton Logan case was pretty interesting although the story left out significant pieces of the narrative, such as the government's failure to act upon evidence linking Andrew Wilson to the McDonald's robbery/shooting back in the 1980s.  The most fascinating/upsetting/ironic part of the story to me was that after Logabn was convicted, 10 jurors were in favor of imposing the death penalty, but Logan was given "merely" life imprisonment based upon two holdouts.  In one sense, these holdouts saved Logan's life, but in another, they surprusingly led to his continued confinement because Wilson's public defenders said that they would have come forward with his confession if Logan were given the death penalty.

According to the 60 Minutes piece, Logan will be in a courtroon here in Chicago today to argue that he deserves a new trial, and I have already written about why he should at the least be given a new trial if not exonerated entirely. 



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The "60 Minutes" piece was very poor. Many questions went unanswered. Aside from the two eyewitnesses, what was the evidence against Alton Logan? Had Alton Logan ever been in any kind of trouble before in his life? The supposed "real" killer confessed. What evidence, other than what appeared to be his own "braggodocia" supports he is the real killer.

Both those lawyers struck me as full of B.S. There were ample ways to "leak" info to Logan's attorneys or the police or the D.A. This story smacks of another attempt by a liberal media outlet to spring a guilty man!

Posted by: Tom O'Sullivan | Mar 10, 2008 9:54:05 AM

I agree that the story was a little thin on the circumstances and backstory of the crime and how Mr. Logan got caught up in the crime.

The notion of leaking the information that the attorneys had was brought up and addressed in the story. According to one of the two attorneys, they cannot knowingly divulge information about their client that would cause him or her harm. If they were to leak the fact that their client was the real killer, it would've caused their client legal harm.

Posted by: NueveFiveOh | Mar 10, 2008 11:14:31 PM

The scary part about this is thousands of cases with simular circumstances can be out there right now and innocent people can STILL be behind bars.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 11, 2008 5:47:06 AM

Very interesting, and of course extremely disturbing. I missed 60 Minutes this week, but a reader who had read my recently released legal thriller, SILENT COUNSEL, emailed me about it.

SILENT COUNSEL--which is fiction--examines the issue of attorney/client confidentiality in the context of a lawyer bound to protect the identity of a hit-and-run driver responsible for the death of a young boy. This real life case shows that the relationship between fiction and fact can be pretty scary at times…

I''m an attorney, and I recognize the important place that the doctrine of privileged information has in our justice system--but I don''t envy these two attorneys who found themselves in this situation. And I''d like to think I''d do the right thing.

Ken Isaacson
SILENT COUNSEL, a legal thriller
A No. 2 Amazon Hot New Release—and a No. 4 Amazon Bestseller—in Legal Thrillers

Posted by: Ken Isaacson | Mar 11, 2008 8:29:55 AM

no trial....release him....isn't it just that simple?....why not?

Posted by: clayton hamilton | Mar 28, 2008 7:38:24 AM

As a juror, I always discount the eyewitness accounts of casual strangers. I also discount the testimony of a single police officer or that of two police officers who are partners. Especially in cases where there is no physical evidence, or what evidence there is, is circumstantial. No physical evidence, no case!

I am always going to be the "holdout" on the side of the accused and make the "state prove its case". I am also ex-military, an NRA member and a political conservative. Go figure. I am anything but a contemporary "liberal", nevertheless the Constitution means what it says. The state has the burden of proof and I hold you DA's and PD's to it. Furthermore, I also believe in jury nullification. I know the legal community does not like this concept, but if you summon a citizen to the courthouse to decide the "facts" then the law in question, AND its proper application, are also part of the "facts" of any trial.

As for Alton Logan, absent any other information, the state, its bar assn. and the attorney's involved chose to be "willfully ignorant" and should be sued by Logan on those grounds.

Posted by: B. Norris | Apr 19, 2008 9:14:07 AM

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