EvidenceProf Blog

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

Monday, January 29, 2024

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Finds Trial Court Erred in Refusing Defendant's Stipulation to His Prior Conviction

Similar to its federal counterpart, West Virginia Rule of Evidence 403 provides that

The court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.

Rule 403 is a liberal rule of admissibility, pursuant to which a court may exclude evidence only if its probative value is substantially outweighed by one or more of the enumerated danger. As such, most relevant evidence is admissible unless it triggers some specific rule of exclusion. That said, in Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997), the Supreme Court recognized that, in certain circumstances, a party must accept a stipulation to evidence that would otherwise satisfy the Rule 403 balancing test. A good example of Old Chief in action can be seen in the recent opinion of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in State v. Jackson, 889 S.E.2d 77 (W.Va. 2024).

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January 29, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 26, 2024

Supreme Court of Colorado Finds No Constitutional Issue With Requiring Defendant to Give Pre-Trial Notice of Alternate Suspect Defense

In Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78 (1970), the United States Supreme Court found that a criminal defendant's constitutional rights are not violated by forcing him to give pre-trial notice of an alibi defense. Now, the Supreme Court of Colorado has similarly found that a criminal defendant's constitutional rights are not violated by forcing him to give pre-trial notice of an alternate suspect defense.

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January 26, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Eleventh Circuit Finds Rule 701(a) Violation in Identification Testimony by Detective

Federal Rule of Evidence 701 provides that

If a witness is not testifying as an expert, testimony in the form of an opinion is limited to one that is:

(a) rationally based on the witness’s perception;

(b) helpful to clearly understanding the witness’s testimony or to determining a fact in issue; and

(c) not based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge within the scope of Rule 702.

A good example of a violation of Rule 701(a) can be found in the recent opinion of the Eleventh Circuit in United States v. Daniels, 2024 WL 259756 (1th Cir. 2024).

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January 25, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tenth Circuit Finds Seals by Tribal Governments Don't Satisfy the Requirements of Rule 902(1)

Federal Rule of Evidence 902(1) provides that:

The following items of evidence are self-authenticating; they require no extrinsic evidence of authenticity in order to be admitted:

(1) Domestic Public Documents That Are Sealed and Signed. A document that bears:

(A) a seal purporting to be that of the United States; any state, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular possession of the United States; the former Panama Canal Zone; the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; a political subdivision of any of these entities; or a department, agency, or officer of any entity named above; and

(B) a signature purporting to be an execution or attestation.

As the recent opinion of the Tenth Circuit in United States v. Walker, 85 F.4th 973 (10th Cir. 2023), makes clear, seals by tribal governments don't satisfy the requirements of Rule 902(1).

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January 24, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 22, 2024

SDNY Resolves Authenticity Dispute in Lawsuit Regarding Tiffany Paintings

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 901(b)(8), one way in which a party can authenticate an item of evidence is through:

(8) Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it:

(A) is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity;

(B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be; and

(C) is at least 20 years old when offered.

A good example of how a part can fail to satisfy the requirements of Rule 901(b)(8) can be found in Platt as co-trustees of Platt Family Artwork Trust v. Michaan, 2023 WL 6292770 (S.D.N.Y. 2023).

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January 22, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 19, 2024

First Circuit Finds That Excited Utterances Can Follow Subsequent Startling Events

Federal Rule of Evidence 803(2) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for

A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.

Back in 2005, in my article, "A Shock to the System," I argued that this "excited utterance exception should apply to subsequent starting events that re-ignite the flame of stress caused by an initial incident. In its recent opinion in United States v. Irizarry-Sisco, 87 F.4th 38 (1st Cir. 2023), the First Circuit reached this same conclusion.

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January 19, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama Finds Prosecution Properly Authenticated Photos of Text Messages

Similar to their federal counterparts, Alabama Rules of Evidence 901(b)(1) & (4) provide that

By way of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, the following are examples of authentication or identification conforming with the requirements of this rule:

(1) TESTIMONY OF WITNESS WITH KNOWLEDGE. Testimony that a matter is what it is claimed to be.

(4) DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS AND THE LIKE. Appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.

So, how would these rules come into play when a party seeks to introduce alleged photos of text messages? That was the question addressed by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama in its recent decision in Berry v. State, 2023 WL 8658297 (Ala.Crim.App. 2023).

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January 17, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Court of Appeal of Louisiana Finds Translators Don't Need to be Certified if They Have Personal Knowledge

Similar to Federal Rule of Evidence 604, La. C.E. art. 604 provides that

An interpreter is subject to the provisions of this Code relating to qualification as an expert and the administration of an oath or affirmation that he will make a true translation.

Given this, I'm not sure of the propriety of the recent opinion of the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit in State v. Mejia, 2023 WL 8249642 (La.App. 5th Cir. 2023).

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January 16, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 15, 2024

Supreme Court of Idaho Surveys How Other Courts Have Interpreted Rule 605's Limitation on Judicial Testimony

Similar to its federal counterpart, Idaho Rule of Evidence 605 provides that

The presiding judge may not testify as a witness in the trial. A party need not object to preserve the issue.

The recent opinion of the Supreme Court of Idaho in State v. Augerlavoie, 2023 WL 8444524 (Idaho 2023), doesn't break any new ground, but it provides a useful summary of how other courts have interpreted the term "testify" in Rule 605.

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January 15, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2024 Evidence Summer Workshop at Vanderbilt Law School

The 2024 Evidence Summer Workshop at Vanderbilt Law Schoolw ill be held from May 15-May 17. Details below:

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-CM

January 10, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Sixth Circuit Concludes That Excited Utterances Can Be Admitted Despite Conflicting Testimony

Federal Rule of Evidence 803(2) provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for

A statement relating to a startling event or condition, made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement that it caused.

As the recent opinion of the Sixth Circuit in United States v. Lundy, 83 F.4th 615 (6th Cir. 2023), makes clear this "excited utterance" exception can apply even in the face of conflicting testimony.

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January 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Supreme Court of New Hampshire Finds Rule 609(b) Does Not Apply if a Supervised Release Violation Happened in the Past 10 Years

Similar to their federal counterparts, New Hampshire Rules of Evidence 609(a)-(b) read as follows:

(a)General rule. The following rules apply to attacking a witness's character for truthfulness by evidence of a criminal conviction:

(1) for a crime that, in the convicting jurisdiction, was punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year, the evidence:

(A) must be admitted, subject to Rule 403, in a civil case or in a criminal case in which the witness is not a defendant; and

(B) must be admitted in a criminal case in which the witness is a defendant, if the probative value of the evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect to that defendant; and

(2) for any crime regardless of the punishment, the evidence must be admitted if the court can readily determine that establishing the elements of the crime required proving - or the witness's admitting - a dishonest act or false statement.

(b) Limit on Using the Evidence After 10 Years. This subdivision (b) applies if more than 10 years have passed since the witness's conviction or release from confinement for it, whichever is later. Evidence of the conviction is admissible only if: (1) its probative value, supported by specific facts and circumstances, substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect; and (2) the proponent gives an adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to use it so that the party has a fair opportunity to contest its use.

So, assume a Wanda is convicted of felony larceny and sentenced to five years in prison in 2008, is given early/supervised release in 2012, violates the conditions of her supervised release in 2014, and serves the remaining one year of her original sentence from 2014-2015. If Wanda later testifies at a trial in 2024, does her prior conviction trigger Rule 609(b) based on her early release in 2012? Or, is 2015 the controlling date, meaning her conviction is not more than ten years old? 

That was the question addressed by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire in its recent opinion in State v. Paul, 2023 WL 7513600 (N.H. 2023).

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January 3, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Court of Appeals of Alaska Finds State Rule of Completeness Trumps the Rule Against Hearsay

Federal Rule of Evidence 106 used to state that

If a party introduces all or part of a statement, an adverse party may require the introduction, at that time, of any other part — or any other statement — that in fairness ought to be considered at the same time. The adverse party may do so over a hearsay objection.

As I noted in a prior post, the rule was amended, effective December 1, 2023, so that it now states that

106

As this last part of the new rule makes clear, the 2023 amendment allows for the admission of statements under this "rule of completeness" even if they constitute hearsay, resolving a prior circuit split. So, assume that Dana texts Felicia, "I killed Victoria last week. She was coming at me with a knife, and I shot her." If the prosecution called Felicia to testify about Dana's first line of the text message, the defense could introduce the second line even though it would ordinarily be inadmissible hearsay.

The question now becomes whether states will amend their existing rules to conform with the amended federal rule and/or whether state courts will interpret existing state versions of Rule 106 to conform with the amended federal rule. The first example we have is out of Alaska.

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January 2, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

My Second Supplement to the Request for Review for Michelle Heale

On February 15, 2022, I filed a Request for Review with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Conviction Review Unit on behalf of Michelle Heale. Here was the Introduction to that Request:

On April 17, 2015, Michelle Heale was convicted of aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment based on the death of fourteen-month old Mason Hess, whom she had been babysitting. Michelle Heale is actually innocent of these crimes and would have been acquitted at trial if not for an error by her trial counsel in failing to present testimony and a report by the leading expert who could have proven her defense. Moreover, new evidence calling into question the use of the traditional triad of symptoms to diagnose Shaken Baby Syndrome – a diagnosis of exclusion, not inclusion – supports a finding of actual innocence. Indeed, this new evidence has led a New Jersey court to conclude that the evidence used to convict Ms. Heale is insufficiently reliable to even be admissible at trial.

In April 2022, I filed a First Supplement to that Request. I have now filed a Second Supplement (Download Heale Second Supplement) to the CRU based upon the recent opinion of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Devision finding that the theory of Shaken Baby Syndrome without impact has never been proven through biomechanical testing and fails to satisfy the Frye test for admissibility of expert evidence. This opinion was based largely upon testimony by Dr. Chris Van Ee, who was contacted by Heale's trial attorney and prepared a draft report in her defense, but who was ignored by Heale's trial attorney after Dr. Van Ee let him know he had written the report. It is my hope that this new opinion leads to Heale being fully exonerated.

-CM

September 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Undisclosed Mega-Update Thread 14

Last week, the State of Michigan agreed to pay Jeff Titus $1.03 million for his 20+ years of wrongful conviction. Given this terrific turn of events, I wanted to do an update on the status of all of the cases we covered on Undisclosed.

Total cases covered: 27 cases.

Relief granted: 19 cases: 14 exonerations: (1) Shaurn Thomas; (2) Terrance Lewis; (3) Willie Veasy; (4) Chester Hollman III; (5) Charles Ray Finch; (6) Theophalis Wilson; (7) Jonathan Irons; (8) Dennis Perry; (9) Ronnie Long; (10) Joseph Webster; (11) Darrell Ewing; (12) Joey Watkins; (13) Adnan Syed; and (14) Jeff Titus; 2 stays of execution: (1) Marcellus Williams; and (2) William Montgomery. 1 commutation: Cyntoia Brown. 1 grant of parole: Cyrus Wilson. 1 vacated conviction/Alford plea: Wayne Braddy and Karl Willis.

Currently pending: 4 cases. (1) Pedro Reynoso's CIU petition; (2) Pam Lanier's motion for a new trial; (3) Jamar Huggins's PCR petition; and (4) Greg Lance's DNA/fingerprint testing.

New appeals expected soon: 1 case: Jason Carroll

Options being explored: 3 cases: (1) Rocky Myers (2) Fred Freeman/Temujin Kensu; (3) John Brookins.

1. Adnan Syed

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Adnan Syed was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee (Undisclosed series). On September 19, 2022, Judge Melissa Phinn vacated his conviction and set him free. Subsequently, on October 11, 2022, Baltimore prosecutors dropped all charges against him. Hae Minn Lee's family appealed Judge Phinn's order. In a 2-1 ruling in March 2023, the Appellate Court of Maryland reinstated Adnan's conviction, but issuance of that mandate has been stayed while Adnan appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland. Oral arguments in the case are currently scheduled for October 5th.

2. Joey Watkins

JWat

Joey Watkins was convicted of the 2000 murder of Isaac Dawkins (Undisclosed series). Judge Don W. Thompson of the Superior Court of Walker County granted Joey Watkins's petition for writ of habeas corpus on April 11, 2022, meaning that Joey's conviction for murdering Isaac Dawkins has been tossed. The Supreme Court of Georgia upheld that ruling. 

3. Jamar Huggins

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The one witness to implicate Jamar Huggins in a home invasion in Conway, South Carolina in 2014 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 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. Jamar has an evidentiary hearing on that claim that was scheduled for May 2023 but was delayed.

4. Marcellus Williams

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Marcellus Williams was convicted of the 1998 murder of Felicia Gayle. 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. Without that Board ever issuing a report, the Missouri governor lifted the stay of execution in July 2023.

5. Shaurn Thomas

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Shaurn Thomas was convicted of the 1990 murder of Domingo Martinez (Undisclosed series). In March 2017, the Conviction Integrity Unit in Philadelphia threw out Shaurn Thomas's conviction. Philadelphia officials later agreed to pay him $4.15 million.

6. Willie Veasy

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Willie Veasy was convicted of the 1992 murder of John Lewis (Undisclosed series). On October 9, 2019, a judge vacated his conviction, and the State later dropped the charges against him due to compelling evidence of his innocence. Willie ultimately settled with the State for $5 million.

7. Terrance Lewis


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Terrance Lewis was convicted of the murder of Hulon Bernard Howard in 1996. Judge Barbara McDermott declared Terrance innocent in May 2019, leading to his release from prison (Undisclosed series). On June 30, 2020, it was announced that he had reached a settlement in which the city would pay him $6.25 million. Terrance has since started the Terrance Lewis Foundation, "a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for wrongfully convicted people who are seeking legal representation."

8. Chester Hollman III

Hollman3

Chester Hollman III was convicted of the 1991 murder of Tae Jung Ho (Undisclosed series). On July 15, 2019, he was released based on a finding that Hollman was innocent, and all charges against him were subsequently dropped on July 30th. Subsequently, on December 30, 2020, a settlement was reached, pursuant to which Chester Hollman III will be awarded $9.8 million for his 28 years of wrongful conviction.

9. Cyntoia Brown

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Cyntoia Brown was convicted of the 2004 murder and robbery of Johnny Michael Allen (Undisclosed special episode). Governor Bill Haslam granted Cyntoia Brown clemency, and she was released August 7, 2019.

10. Ronnie Long

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Long was convicted of the 1976 rape of Gray Bost (Undisclosed series). In August, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina entered an order vacating Ronnie Long's convictions for first-degree rape and burglary. In September 2020, he was released from prison. On December 17, 2020 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a Pardon of Innocence for Ronnie Long, making him eligible for $750,000 in compensation. On May 3, 2021, Long filed a civil action, seeking additional compensation for his decades of wrongful conviction.

11. William Montgomery

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William Montgomery was convicted of the 1986 murder of  Debra Ogle (Undisclosed special addendum interview). Governor John Kasich commuted William's death sentence to a life without parole sentence in March 2018.

12. Pamela Lanier

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Pam Lanier was convicted of the 1997 murder of her husband Dorian (Undisclosed series). Pam's team at Wake Forest has filed motion for a new trial  based on new scientific evidence that Pam's husband died from arsenic poisoning based on ingesting turkey medication rather than being poisoned by her. A hearing that was scheduled for June 27, 2022 was postponed.

13. Dennis Perry

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Dennis Perry was convicted of the 1985 murders of Harold and Thelma Swain (Undisclosed series). In April 2020, it was reported that glasses likely left at the crime scene by the killer had hairs that returned a DNA match for alternate suspect Erik Sparre. A hearing on Dennis's motion for extraordinary relief was held on July 13, 2020. The result of that hearing was Dennis Perry being granted a new trial. On July 23, 2020, he was released from prison. Legislators in Georgia recently cleared legislation that "would pay 60-year-old Dennis Perry $1.23 million for the 20 years he spent in state custody."

14. Charles Ray Finch

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Charles Ray Finch was convicted of the 1976 murder of Richard Holloman (Undisclosed special episode). The Fourth Circuit first found that Charles Ray Finch had proven his "actual innocence."  Then, a federal district court granted his habeas petition and set him free in May 2019. Finch recently died in January.

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On June 16, 2021, Governor Roy Cooper issued a Pardon of Innocence for Finch.

15. Rocky Myers

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Rocky Myers was convicted of murdering Ludie Mae Tucker in 1991 and given a death sentence as a result of judicial override, despite the jury voting 9-3 for a life sentence. 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).

16. Joseph Webster

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Joseph Webster was convicted of the 1998 murder of Leroy Owens (Undisclosed series). Webster was exonerated after a judge agreed with the Davidson County Conviction Review Unit that he was wrongfully convicted, and he was released on November 10, 2020. Based on a GoFundMe fundraiser, Joseph will be able to move into his own apartment.

17. Cyrus Wilson

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Cyrus Wilson was convicted of the 1992 murder of Christopher Luckett (Undisclosed special episode). On October 23, 2019, he was granted parole by the Tennessee Board of Parole.

18. Greg Lance

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Greg Lance was convicted of the murders of Victor and Alla Kolesnikow in 1998 (Undisclosed series). On December 16, 2022, a Tennessee judge approved DNA testing of crime scene evidence as well as fingerprint testing of a battery found in a flashlight connected to the crime.

19. Pedro Reynoso

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Pedro Reynoso was convicted of the 1991 murders of Charles Rivera and Carlos Torres (Undisclosed special episode). In December, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons voted to hold his case under advisement to determine if they are allowed to consider actual innocence claims. His case is also being reviewed by Philadelphia's Conviction Integrity Unit.

20. Theophalis Wilson

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Theophalis Wilson was convicted of the 1989 murders of Otis Reynolds, Gavin Anderson, and Kevin Anderson (Undisclosed special episode). On January 21, 2020, a judge declared him innocent of these murders and set him free. Earlier this year, Wilson filed a civil action seeking compensation for his decades of wrongful conviction.

21. Fred Freeman/Temujin Kensu

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Fred Freeman/Temujin Kensu was convicted of the murder of Scott Macklem in 1986 (Undisclosed series). His clemency request was denied by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2021.

22. Jonathan Irons

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Jonathan Irons was convicted of a burglary and shooting that occurred at the home of Stanley Stotler in O'Fallon, Missouri back in 1997 (Undisclosed series). On June 30, 2020, the Supreme Court of Missouri refused to hear the State's appeal from Judge Daniel Green's opinion granting Jonathan Irons a new trial. On July 1, 2020, Jonathan was released from prison. The following day, the prosecutor announced that he would not take Jonathan's case back to trial. Jonathan was then released from prison. On March 8, 2021, Irons filed a civil action seeking compensation for his decades of wrongful conviction.

23. John Brookins

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John Brookins was convicted of the 1990 murder of Sheila Ginsberg (Undisclosed series). John is currently appealing the denial of his DNA petition.

24. Jeff Titus

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Jeff Titus was convicted of the 1990 murders of Doug Estes and James Bennett in the Fulton State Game Area in Kalamazoo County (Undisclosed series). Earlier this year, a federal judge signed an order releasing Jeff Titus from prison and granting him a new trial. Subsequently, prosecutors dropped the charges against him. As noted, last week, he was awarded $1.03 million. Today, it was announced that he filed a $100 million lawsuit against the cold case detectives who withheld material exculpatory evidence against him.

25. Darrell Ewing

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Darrell Ewing was convicted of the 2009 murder of J.B. Watson in Detroit, Michigan (Undisclosed series). Ewing was eventually granted a new trial based upon jury misconduct, and the State ran out of appeals for that ruling on March 2, 2021. The State is currently trying to take Ewing's case back to trial.

26. Jason Carroll

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Jason Carroll was convicted of the July 1988 murder of Sharon Johnson in New Hampshire (Undisclosed series). Appellate options are currently being explored, and his case will be covered on the Bear Brook podcast.

27. Wayne Braddy and Karl Willis

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Karl Willis and Wayne Braddy were convicted of the murder Maurice Purifie on June 15, 1998 in Toledo, Ohio (Undisclosed series). While their latest appeal was pending, the prosecutor offered a deal in which their convictions would be vacated in exchange for Alford pleas. In March, Willis and Braddy accepted this deal and were released.

-CM

September 20, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 24, 2023

The Straightforward Case For Adnan Syed's Innocence

Oral arguments in the Adnan Syed/Hae Min Lee case are right around the corner (October 5th) in the Supreme Court of Maryland. The case has been dissected and analyzed all across the media, so much so that it gets difficult to see the forest for the trees. When we take a step back, though, things are much more straightforward in this case than a typical case because we had a mistrial at Adnan's first trial. This makes it very easy to see what has always been "the crux" of the State's case against Adnan and why that center could not hold.

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August 24, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, August 18, 2023

Louisiana Only Allows Evidence of the Victim's Bad Character for Violence if There's Evidence (S)he Committed an Overt Act at the Time of the Crime Charged

Federal Rule of Evidence 404(a)(2)(B) provides that 

subject to the limitations in Rule 412, a defendant may offer evidence of an alleged victim’s pertinent trait, and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may:

(i) offer evidence to rebut it; and

(ii) offer evidence of the defendant’s same trait

By way of contrast, Louisiana Article of Evidence 404(A)(2)(a) contains additional restrictions. It states that

Except as provided in Article 412, evidence of a pertinent trait of character, such as a moral quality, of the victim of the crime offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the character evidence;  provided that in the absence of evidence of a hostile demonstration or an overt act on the part of the victim at the time of the offense charged, evidence of his dangerous character is not admissible;  provided further that when the accused pleads self-defense and there is a history of assaultive behavior between the victim and the accused and the accused lived in a familial or intimate relationship such as, but not limited to, the husband-wife, parent-child, or concubinage relationship, it shall not be necessary to first show a hostile demonstration or overt act on the part of the victim in order to introduce evidence of the dangerous character of the victim, including specific instances of conduct and domestic violence;  and further provided that an expert's opinion as to the effects of the prior assaultive acts on the accused's state of mind is admissible (emphasis added).

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August 18, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Southwestern Law School Seeks an Evidence Professor

SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL in Los Angeles invites applications for the following positions:

  • Multiple full-time entry-level and lateral tenure/tenure-track positions. Our primary curricular needs include Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law/Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Property. 
  • Full-time entry-level or experienced Associate Professors of Academic Success and Bar Preparation
  • Full-time entry-level or experienced Associate Professors or Professors of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills.

Founded in 1911, Southwestern is an ABA-accredited, independent law school located in the center of Los Angeles. Our mission includes educating lawyers ready to serve clients, the profession, and our society with excellence, empowering students to reach their potential, cultivating inclusion and belonging, and shaping the law and public policy through teaching, scholarship, and service.

To apply, please send your CV, professional references, research agenda, and preferred areas of teaching via email to [email protected] and put "Faculty Application" in the email subject line. Review of applications will begin in mid-August. Initial interviews will be held via Zoom, and callback interviews will be held in person. 

August 17, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Finds Husband "Tagging" His Wife on Facebook Posts Was a "Communication," Violating Her Protective Order Against Him

Does "tagging" someone on Facebook constitute a communication for purposes of a protective order? This was the question of first impression addressed by the Court of Appeals of Texas in its recent opinion in Boes v. State, 2023 WL 5242592 (Tex. App. 2023),

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August 17, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Why It's Highly Likely Becky Heard Hae Tell Adnan She Couldn't Give Him a Ride b/c She Had "Something Else to Do" on January 13, 1999

There has been a good bit of discussion about the Adnan Syed case on Twitter/X recently, and a good deal of it has dealt with Becky, a classmate and friend of both Adnan and Hae Min Lee. I've written before on this blog about Becky, but I don't think I've ever done a full post on why it is highly likely that the critical event she remembers in fact occurred on January 13, 1999, the day Hae disappeared.

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August 13, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (4)