Designating and Determining Issues on Applications for Writs ...
LEGAL ISSUES IN TEXAS INNOCENCE CASES Presented by: Gary A. Udashen Sorrels, Udashen & Anton 2311 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 250 Dallas, Texas 75201 214-468-8100 214-468-8104 fax [email protected]
Cory Session of Fort Worth, center, wipes his eyes as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, and Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, left, bow their heads in prayer during a ceremony to unveil a Timothy Cole memorial in Lubbock, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Twenty-eight years to the day after Timothy Cole was falsely convicted of raping a Texas Tech student, Lubbock and state officials unveiled a statue honoring the U. S. Army veteran on a street corner not far from where the student was abducted. AP/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal TIM COLE STATUE UNVEILING TIM COLE STATUE UNVEILING
DNA Exonerations in Texas What Weve Learned Average Texas DNA exoneree spent more than 13 years incarcerated on their wrongful convictions. Majority of DNA exonerations in Texas from Dallas County. Possible reasons: Dallas County is a leader in preserving biological evidence District Attorneys Conviction Integrity Unit is proactively
seeking to identify and correct wrongful convictions More than 75% of Texas DNA exonerations based on faulty eyewitness identifications. Other leading causes of wrongful convictions in Texas include prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate defense representation, forensic science misconduct, and false confessions.
TEXAS ACTUAL INNOCENCE STANDARD Ex Parte Elizondo, 947 S.W.2d 202 (1996) Applicant must show that newly discovered evidence of actual innocence unquestionably established innocence. ACTUAL INNOCENCE
STANDARD Court must examine the new evidence in light of the evidence presented at trial To grant relief court must believe that no rational juror would have convicted in light of the newly discovered evidence. ACTUAL INNOCENCE STANDARD Applies to:
DNA Recantations Other New Evidence Ex Parte Brown, 205 S.W.3d 538 (2006) Establishing a bare claim of actual innocence is a herculean task Must make an exceedingly persuasive case of actual innocence
RECANTATIONS Ex Parte Thompson, 153 S.W.3d 416 (2005) Complainant, daughter of Applicant, provided affidavit and testimony stating that sexual abuse never occurred.
Ex Parte Tuley, 109 S.W.3d 388 (2002) Actual innocence claims are not barred by guilty plea. NEWLY DISCOVERED OR NEWLY AVAILABLE EVIDENCE: Ex Parte Calderon, 309 S.W.3d 64 (2010) Evidence of innocence must be
newly discovered or newly available. Ex Parte Navarijo, 433 S.W.3d 558 (2014) Complainants recantation alone insufficient to prove actual innocence. NON-RECANTATION ACTUAL
INNOCENCE CASE Defendant actually innocent of duty to register as a sex offender. Ex Parte Harbin, 297 S.W.3d 283 (2009) SUPPRESSION OF EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE Suppression by the prosecution of evidence
favorable to an accused violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution. Brady v. Maryland 373 U.S. 83 (1963)
THREE PART TEST TO OBTAIN RELIEF BASED ON SUPPRESSION OF EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE The prosecution withheld or suppressed evidence. The evidence was favorable to the defense. The evidence was material to
either guilt or punishment. MATERIALITY TEST The materiality test is met and a new trial required if there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different. This reasonable probability is defined as a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome. United States v. Bagley,
473 U.S. 667 (1985) Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995) State failed to disclose conflicting statements
by witnesses This evidence would have made a different result reasonably probable Non-disclosure is Brady violation Thomas v. State, 841 S.W.2d 399 (1992) Duty to disclose favorable
evidence attaches with or without a request for the evidence. When unsure of whether to disclose the evidence, the prosecutor should submit the evidence to the trial judge for his consideration. Thomas v. State Because Brady was aimed at ensuring that an accused receives a fair trial rather than punishing the prosecutor for failing to disclose favorable
evidence, the prosecutions obligation to disclose is not measured by the moral culpability, or the willfulness, of the prosecutor. In Brady cases the good or bad faith of the State is irrelevant for due process purposes. Ex Parte Richardson, 70 S.W.3d 865 (2002) Because we agree that the credibility of the States only eyewitness, Anita Hanson,
was crucial issue in applicants trial, we conclude that the State had an affirmative constitutional duty under Brady v. Maryland to
disclose material evidence that impeached her testimony. CHANGING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE Ex
parte Robbins, 360 S.W.3d 446 (2011), cert. denied May 14, 2012) QUESTION: HOW SHOULD COURTS RESPOND TO CHANGES IN SCIENCE UNDERLYING CONVICTIONS Robbins Majority Opinion
(5-4 Vote) Majority concluded that because Robbins failed to prove that the new evidence unquestionably establishes his innocence, he was not entitled to relief on his claim of actual innocence Robbins Majority
Despite all experts agreeing that Dr. Moores findings and testimony were incorrect, majority refused relief because none of the experts affirmatively proved that Tristen could not have been intentionally asphyxiated. Majority concluded Robbins did not have a due process right to have a jury hear Moores reevaluation.
Judge Cochran Dissenting Discussed her extremely serious concern about the increased disconnect between the worlds of science and of law that allows a conviction to remain in force when the scientific basis for that conviction has since been rejected by the scientific community. Judge
Cochran said [f]inality of judgment is essential in criminal cases, but so is accuracy of the result - an accurate result that will stand the test of time and changes in scientific knowledge. JUDGE ALCALA DISSENTING Judge Alcala dissented and said that Robbins is entitled to
relief on his application for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that he was denied due process of law by the States use of false testimony to obtain his conviction. Ex Parte Henderson, 246 S.W.3d 690 (2007) Child dies of head injury.
Henderson says she dropped child. Medical Examiner testified that it was impossible for childs brain injuries to have occurred in the way Henderson stated. Medical Examiner says childs injuries resulted from a blow intentionally struck by Henderson. Ex Parte Henderson Henderson
submits evidence that recent advances in biomechanics suggest that it is possible that Brandons head injuries could have been caused by an accidental shortdistance fall. Additionally, Medical Examiner submitted an affidavit which recanted his testimony. Court majority held that Medical Examiners re-evaluation of his opinion is a material exculpatory fact and ordered the trial court
to further develop the evidence. Ex Parte Henderson, 384 S.W.3d 833 (2012) Court finds new scientific evidence shows that a short distance fall could have caused the head injury. Court finds new scientific evidence did not establish that
Henderson was actually innocent but that it did establish a due process violation. New Statute Concerning Writs Based on New Scientific Evidence Art. 11.073. Procedure Related to Certain Scientific Evidence. (a) This article applies to relevant scientific evidence that:
(1) was not available to be offered by a convicted person at the convicted persons trial; or (2) contradicts scientific evidence relied on by the state at trial: (b) A court may grant relief if . . . : (A) relevant scientific evidence is currently available and was not available at the time of the convicted persons trial because the evidence was not ascertainable through the exercise of reasonable diligence by the convicted person before the date of or during the convicted persons trial; and
(B) the scientific evidence would be admissible under the Texas Rules of Evidence . . . ; and (2) the court . . . finds that, had the scientific evidence been presented at trial, on the preponderance of the evidence the person would not have been convicted. (c) For purposes of a subsequent writ, a claim or issue could not have been presented in a previously considered application if the claim or issue is based on relevant scientific evidence that was not ascertainable through the exercise of
reasonable diligence by the convicted person on or before the date on which the original application or a previously considered application , as applicable, was filed. Ex Parte Robbins (Robbins II) __ S.W.3d ___ (2014) Robbins case reconsidered under Art. 11.073 and relief
granted. Robbins II Majority Opinion (5-4 Vote) Majority held Medical Examiners reconsideration of her opinion was new scientific evidence that contradicted scientific evidence relied upon by the state at trial. Robbins Dissenting Opinions Believed
11.073 did not apply to Robbins but recognized that it applied to scientific evidence of false and discredited forensic testimony. Dissenting Opinions Examples Of Where 11.073 Applies: Dog Scent lineups Misinterpreted Indicators of Arson
Infant Trauma Ex Parte Spencer, 337 S.W.3d 869 (2011) We will consider advances in science and technology when determining whether evidence is newly discovered or newly available, but only if the evidence being tested is the same as it was at the time of
the offense. Thus, the science or the method of testing can be new, but the evidence must be able to be tested in the same state as it was at the time of the offense. Expert Testimony on Reliability of Eyewitness Identification Procedures Tillman v. State, 354 S.W.3d 425 (2011)
The court held that psychology is a legitimate field of study and the reliability of eyewitness identification is a legitimate subject within the area of psychology Dog Scent Discrimination Winfrey v. State, 323 S.W.3d 875 (2010) . . . scent-discrimination lineups, when used alone or as primary
evidence, are legally insufficient to support a conviction. . . .dangers inherent in the use of dog tracking evidence can only be alleviated by the presence of corroborating evidence. False Testimony on Testing Regarding Sexual Attraction to Children In the Matter of M.P.A., 364 S.W.3d 277 (Tex. 2012)
65% accuracy rate not sufficient reliability for admission in evidence. Polygraph Evidence Leonard v. State, ___ S.W.3d ____, 2012 WL 715981 (2012), rehearing granted. Court held that the fact that the defendant failed polygraphs was admissible in probation revocation hearing.
Dissent argued: We should not permit or condone trial by polygraph or revocation by polygraph Leonard v. State, 385 S.W.3d 570 (2012), on rehearing Evidence of failed polygraphs found inadmissible. Polygraph exams were not reliable and were not the sort of
inadmissible evidence reasonably relied upon by experts. FBI ADMITS FLAWS IN HAIR ANALYSIS OVER DECADES The Justice Department and FBI have acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over
more than a two-decade period before 2000. Washington Post April 18, 2015 INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), test requires Applicant to show: 1. Counsels performance was deficient.
Requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. 2. The deficient performance prejudiced the defendant. DUTY TO INVESTIGATE Counsels strategic choices made after less than complete
investigation are considered reasonable, on claim of ineffective assistance, precisely to extent that reasonable professional judgments support limitations on investigation. Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510 (2003) FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE Failure of trial counsel to
investigate information that someone else committed the crime is ineffective. Ex Parte Amezquita, 223 S.W.3d 363 (2006) FAILURE TO OBTAIN EXPERT ASSISTANCE Retained counsel performed deficiently in limiting, for economic
reasons, his investigation of medical evidence before advising client to plead guilty. Ex Parte Briggs, 187 S.W.3d 458 (2005) PRESENTATION OF PERJURED TESTIMONY Due process violated by states unknowing presentation of perjured testimony in murder
prosecution. Ex Parte Chabot, 300 S.W.3d 768 (2009). Ex Parte Ghahremani, 332 S.W.3d 470 (2011) Testimony of child victims parents regarding victims behavior after assault by defendant was false State knew the testimony was false States knowing use of false testimony likely resulted in a harsher punishment Due process violated
Texas Leads The Country Legislative Actions
Chapter 64 DNA Testing Art. 39.14 Michael Morton Act Art. 38.43 Retention of Biological Evidence Art. 38.01 Forensic Science Commission Art. 38.20 Photographic and Live Lineup Procedures Art. 38.141 Corroboration of Testimony of Undercover Informant Art. 11.073 Writs Based on New Science Tim Cole Advisory Commission on Wrongful Convictions Compensation For Wrongfully Imprisoned
Texas Leads the Country Judicial Actions Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit Tillman v. State - expert testimony on eyewitness identification Winfrey v. State dog sniff lineups Ex parte Henderson child head injuries Ex parte Elizondo - actual innocence as ground for writ Texas Legislature 2015
Taping Interrogations Innocence Commission Fix to DNA Statute Office of Forensic Writ Counsel Dallas Exoneration Hearing
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