Monday, August 5, 2019
Only July 30th, all charges against Chester Hollman III were dropped two weeks after a judge accepted the prosecution's argument that he was "likely innocent" of a 1991 murder. Given this terrific turn of events, I wanted to do another update on the status of all of the cases we've covered on Undisclosed.
Unfortunately, you probably know the status of Adnan's case (Undisclosed series). After the Circuit Court and the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland granted him a new trial, the Court of Appeals reversed in a 4-3 ruling. The next step is a cert petition to the United States Supreme Court that will be filed by August 19th and that will likely be denied. This will likely be followed by a claim of ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel based on the AT&T disclaimer that will very likely succeed, lead to his conviction being thrown out.
Joey had two claims (Undisclosed series). I think his stronger argument is that a juror improperly did a drive test during deliberations to see if she could make the cell tower pings work. Substantively, this is a clear winning argument for a new trial. The Circuit Court, however, found that the argument was procedurally barred due to waiver. This ruling was appealed to Supreme Court of Georgia, which initially declined to hear it. In a stunning turn of events, however, the Supreme Court of Georgia granted Joey's motion for reconsideration. As a result, while it might take a few years, I now think there's a very strong chance that Joey's conviction is eventually thrown out.
The one witness to implicate Jamar Huggins in a home invasion in Conway, South Carolina has since recanted and named the actual person who committed the crime (Undisclosed series). The initial claim was that this was "new evidence" allowing for a new trial. But the Circuit Court found this recantation was known and not used by trial counsel. That decision was recently affirmed by the Court of Appeals of South Carolina. This was all expected and sets up a pretty compelling argument for ineffective assistance of trial counsel. I'm currently working on that argument with Jamar's attorney.
Governor Eric Greitens stayed Marcellus Williams's execution in August 2017 (Undisclosed special episode). He also appointed a Board of Inquiry to review his case. That Board has not yet issued its report.
Veasy's timecard shows him working at the time he was allegedly killing "The Jamaican," the only witness against him was legally blind, and the State suppressed exculpatory evidence (Undisclosed series). We are currently working with the Conviction Integrity Unit on this case and hope for a ruling soon.
Chester Hollman III
As noted above, a judge recently accepted the prosecution's statement that Chester was "likely innocent" of the 1991 murder of Tae Jung Ho and released, with the State subsequently dropping all of the charges against him, accompanied by an apology (Undisclosed series).
Govenor Bill Haslam granted Cyntoia Brown clemency, meaning she should be released August 7th (Undisclosed special episode).
A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently heard oral arguments on Ronnie's claim of Brady violations (Undisclosed series). A decision should be imminent.
In the near future, expect a motion for a new trial from the Wake Forest team based on new scientific evidence that Pam's husband died from arsenic poisoning based on ingesting turkey medication rather than being poisoned by her (Undisclosed series).
Expect a motion for a new trial by the Georgia Innocence Project in the near future based on many of the issues we raised in our most recent series [Edit: Dennis's habeas petition was filed in June] (Undisclosed series).
Charles Ray Finch
The Fourth Circuit first found that Charles Ray Finch has proven his "actual innocence." Then, a federal district court granted his habeas petition and set him free in May (Undisclosed special episode)
We just finished our series on Rocky Myers, who has no ability to appeals his murder conviction due to his abandonment by appellate counsel. As a result, it is difficult to see a path toward exoneration in the courts. That said, we hope that his death sentence can be commuted to a life sentence due to the use of judicial override in his case, and we also hope that we can convince Governor Kay Ivey to stay execution if and when that execution is scheduled (Undisclosed series).