Tuesday, December 1, 2015
This is the third in a series of posts about the hair evidence in the Adnan Syed case (prior posts here and here). This post deals with the defense's motion for a Brady hearing on the hair evidence and the judge's denial of that motion.
As I've noted previously, the State initially turned over Sal Bianca's hair analysis report on December 2, 1999, days before Adnan's trial. This report concluded that none of the hairs recovered from Hae's body were consistent with hair samples taken from Adnan, i.e., he could be excluded as the source of all the hairs. It wasn't until December 30, 1999, weeks after Adnan's first (mis)trial, that the State turned over an Amended State's Disclosure, which indicated that Hae could be excluded as the source of two of the hairs recovered from her body.
This (and non-disclosures connected to Jay) prompted the defense, on January 7, 2000, to file a motion for a Brady hearing. Here's the portion dealing with the hair evidence:
The judge, however, denied this motion for a Brady hearing. Here is the relevant part of her opinion:
You can see why the judge ruled the way that she did. After all, if the State says that it has disclosed everything that it has on a subject, the judge will normally take the State at its word. On the other hand, you can see why the Gutierrez filed her motion. The State pretty clearly violated Brady by not disclosing the information about the two hairs until weeks after the first trial, and the State also had its persistent practice of having its experts not record their findings to avoid discovery.
Then, of course, there's the issue of the State's seeming disinterest in actually determining who killed Hae. Here, you have no hairs from the defendant on Hae's body, two hairs that didn't come from Adnan or Hae, and multiple other alternate suspects. And yet, the State does not get hair samples from any of these alternate suspects to compare against these hairs.