Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Today, Adnan's attorney, Justin Brown, filed a motion to supplement the record in the reopened PCR proceedings. Specifically, he is seeking to supplement the record with (1) a letter from Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah indicating that Professor Michael Millemann solely represented Adnan back in 1999 "for the limited purpose of enforcing the defendant’s right to be represented by counsel of his choice;" and (2) a letter from Professor Millemann indicating that Vignarajah (a) failed to contact him before describing his role at the proceedings; (b) misrepresented his role at the proceedings; (c) failed to run his letter by Millemann before sending it to Judge Welch; and (d) misrepresented the nature of Millemann's objection in his letter.
In and of itself, this motion might not seem that important, but the key point is that the letter(s) could cause Judge Welch to question everything that Vignarajah said and presented at the reopened PCR proceedings. It could also cause Judge Welch to question everything that Vignarajah wrote in his briefs. This is because Vignarajah's error was not something he made in the heat of the moment at the proceedings. Take a look, for instance, at Vignarajah's Brief of Appellee (pg. 11):
Prior to trial, Syed was represented by two prominent attorneys, both law professors today, Michael Millemann and Douglas Colbert....Gutierrez was selected in part on the strength of Millemann’s and Colbert’s endorsement of her; Syed’s mosque also screened candidates and conducted interviews of three attorneys, before deciding that Gutierrez was the best choice.
Again, this statement is simply wrong. Douglas Colbert and Chris Flohr initially represented Adnan as part of the Lawyers at Bail project before Cristina Gutierrez took over for trial at the recommendation of Flohr (and maybe Colbert). Millemann was only brought on after the decision was made to hire Gutierrez, and he was hired "for the limited purpose of enforcing the defendant’s right to be represented by counsel of his choice."
Again, in isolation, this might not seem like a huge deal. But if it causes Judge Welch to review each State argument with a fine toothed comb, he will likely find some more significant misrepresentations.