The Open File Blog
/ April 23, 2014 0 COMMENTS
As we reported yesterday, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty is the latest district attorney to launch a conviction integrity unit in his office to review cases of possible wrongful conviction. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins was the first to create such a review system in 2007. It’s very encouraging to see prosecutors’ offices taking...
/ April 22, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty has asked the Ohio Parole Board to grant clemency to Arthur Tyler, who is scheduled for execution on May 28, 2014. Specifically, McGinty is recommending a reduced sentence for Tyler from the death penalty to life-without-parole. McGinty says he arrived at his decision after conducting an exhaustive investigation into the...
/ April 20, 2014 0 COMMENTS
In the days before the advent of forensic DNA testing, exonerations were relatively rare. Few in America had a sense of how common wrongful convictions were. Even into the 1990s, it was rare to see the now-common media coverage of men being released after decades in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter...
/ April 18, 2014 1 COMMENTS
Joe Patrice at Above the Law had an unsurprisingly witty take on the lambasting of the federal government by the Ninth Circuit over the government’s misconduct in a drug case last September. We didn’t see it until it was a bit late to share on The Open File, but will do so now since the...
/ April 16, 2014 4 COMMENTS
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Angela McCormick Bisig declared a mistrial in a murder trial yesterday after it came to light that former prosecutor Tom Van De Rostyne had suppressed an interview with the defendant’s former girlfriend. The interview contained details of a possible alibi, but was never disclosed to defense counsel. WBRD.com reports: [T]he current...
/ April 15, 2014 0 COMMENTS
The late disclosure of favorable evidence by prosecutors has been the theme in a number of recent cases out of Hawaii, Indiana and Washington D.C. In some of these cases, exculpatory evidence was withheld until the eve of trial; in another, impeaching evidence wasn’t disclosed until the middle of trial. While the practice of withholding...
/ April 14, 2014 1 COMMENTS
Now that he is out of office, Joe Hynes has spoken his mind about his former office’s violations of ethical rules in the high-profile Jabbar Collins case, and the fact that he believed Collins was innocent. In a December deposition, Hynes admitted that he believed Collins was actually innocent when his conviction was thrown out...
/ April 10, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A case that recently came before the Michigan Supreme Court, People v. Chenault, raised the question of whether defense counsel has to meet a due diligence requirement to obtain exculpatory or impeaching evidence for a Brady violation to occur. Since Brady was decided four decades ago, numerous courts (including the U.S. Court of Appeals for...
/ April 8, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Update: Jonathan Fleming was freed yesterday after a short hearing where all charges against him were dismissed based on withheld exculpatory evidence. See Joaquin Sapien’s update at ProPublica here. ### When Jonathan Fleming’s attorney argued that his client couldn’t have committed the murder he was on trial for because he was in Florida – not...
/ April 7, 2014 3 COMMENTS
Warrick County Prosecutor JoAnne Krantz has come under fire from the defense community in Booneville, IN. for repeatedly withholding exculpatory evidence in criminal cases. In February, the Tri-State Times wrote a piece titled, “Attorneys Speak Out About Warrick County Prosecutor” in which defense attorney Rick Martin said Krantz’s office has failed to turn over evidence...
/ April 2, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Kate Pastor of City Limits takes a look at the history of New York’s restrictive discovery laws, recounting the harrowing wrongful conviction of Alberto Ramos after key exculpatory evidence was suppressed in the child sex-abuse case against him.  The author outlines the problems that arise from the antiquated discovery statute and the legislative reforms that...
/ April 1, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Two Oklahoma City prosecutors who were fired for withholding exculpatory evidence in a 2012 murder case are now facing disciplinary action from the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Oklahoma State Bar has asked the Supreme Court to reprimand former district attorneys Pamela Jean Kimbrough and Stephanie Bradley Miller for failing to disclose the inconsistent statements of...
/ March 31, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Last Thursday, March 29, the Florida Supreme Court reversed Raymond Marston’s convictions of sexual battery, aggravated battery, kidnapping and robbery, ruling that Hillsborough County Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters repeatedly made remarks that “demeaned” the defendant’s right to remain silent at trial. Defendants have a constitutional right not to speak in their own defense at...
/ March 27, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Deputy Pinal County Attorney Richard Wintory has been suspended from practicing law for 90 days, effective March 15, after the Arizona Supreme Court accepted an agreement entered into by Wintory and the Arizona State Bar in February. The agreement came in response to a complaint by the State Bar against Wintory alleging that he made false...
/ March 25, 2014 0 COMMENTS
The Third Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a man for five counts of sexual abuse in the first degree due to prosecutorial misconduct. Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague’s questioning of a witness was designed to illicit improper testimony, the Court found, which led to the introduction...