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Tag Archives: New Trial

Criminal Procedure – Murder — Brady Error — New Trial (access required)

Wolfe v. Clarke A defendant convicted of murder-for-hire has shown that state prosecutors violated Brady v. Maryland when they intentionally withheld a detective’s report about conversation with the chief prosecution witness who said defendant asked him to commit the murder, and the 4th Circuit grants defendant’s § 2254 petition in this murder-for-hire case.

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Criminal Practice – Jury & Jurors – Wikipedia Research – Cockfighting Charges – New Trial (access required)

U.S. v. Lawson A juror’s use of Wikipedia to research an element of a criminal offense violated defendant’s right to a fair trial on illegal “cockfighting” charges, and the 4th Circuit vacates defendant’s conviction for violating an animal fighting statute, 7 U.S.C. § 2156(a), and conspiracy convictions of defendants related solely to the animal fighting activities.

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Criminal Practice – ABHAN — Evidence – Prior Assault Convictions – New Trial (access required)

State v. Howard Defendant was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN). When deciding to admit evidence of defendant’s three prior ABHAN convictions, the trial court discussed the importance of credibility in this case, but the court failed to state how defendant’s prior ABHAN convictions were probative of his credibility.

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Criminal Practice – New Trial – Death Penalty – Mentally Retarded Defendant (access required)

Elmore v. Ozmint A mentally retarded African-American handyman who was 23 years old when he was accused of the 1982 murder of a 75-year-old wealthy white woman for whom he did odd jobs is entitled to a new trial, as his trial lawyers’ “blind acceptance of the State’s forensic evidence” demonstrated constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel, says the 4th Circuit in a 2-1 split.

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Convicted killer’s pro se petition wins him new trial   (access required)

Cory Credell’s insistence that counsel in his Orangeburg murder trial in 2001 had been ineffective fell on deaf ears in the South Carolina state appellate courts. The South Carolina Court of Appeals dismissed his appeal in 2003. Credell’s application for post-conviction relief was denied in 2006. Credell then filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari with the South Carolina Supreme Court. The court granted the writ in 2008 but later dismissed it in 2009 as improvidently granted.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Confrontation Clause – Attorneys – Ineffective Assistance – Guilt-Phase Cross-Examination – Now-Deceased Witness – New Trial (access required)

State v. Nance In a prior trial, defense counsel ineffectively executed a strategy of not contesting guilt and of mitigating defendant’s actions in an attempt to avoid the death penalty. We awarded a new trial, and the only eyewitness has now passed away. Defense counsel’s strategy in the original trial of not cross-examining the eyewitness was not ineffective, and, at defendant’s new trial, the late eyewitness’ testimony may be read to the jury without violating defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause. We reverse the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion to suppress the eyewitness’ testimony from the original trial.

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