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Court Determines Defendant is Entitled to Habeaus Corpus Relief


The petitioner was a Florida prisoner on death row, having been convicted of first degree murder. The district court granted a writ of habeas corpus setting aside his conviction and sentence. The United States Court of Appeals reversed the decision of district court. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the issues involved are whether or not the petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel and that the State violated the Brady rule.

An illicit love affair ensued between a man, a real estate broker with ties to Boston’s criminal underworld, and a woman, who was married to a wealthy citrus grower. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the man and the woman conspired to kill the wealthy husband by hiring petitioner as an assassin to murder husband. Unfortunately, the murder did not signal the beginning of a blissful life on the estate for the lovers. The man allegedly wanted more money and continue to harass the woman and her child. Terrified, the woman went to the authorities and implicated the man as the person behind her husband’s murder.

During the trial, the man discredited the woman as prosecution’s star witness. Trial proceedings were tainted with evidentiary irregularity leading to the unavailability of key witnesses. The man was discharged from prosecution in the crime of murder. The court then granted the petition to destroy certain physical evidence held for man’s prosecution.

Several years later, the man faced charges for prostitution, narcotics distribution, arson, bribery, counterfeiting and hijacking, among other things. In exchange for immunity, the man volunteered to give information he had on the murder of the wealthy citrus grower. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said the statement of this man lead to the arrest of petitioner assassin who was convicted by the jury founding him guilty of first degree murder. The court sentenced the petitioner assassin to death.

Petitioner appealed his conviction and demanded for an evidentiary hearing. The district court decided to hold an evidentiary hearing before it. The district court concluded that petitioner assassin was entitled to habeas corpus relief because his trial counsel was ineffective. In the court’s view, petitioner’s lawyer, who was responsible for pretrial investigation, was incompetent, and his primary defense counsel did not know that the other counsel had failed them.

Upon review, the Court of Appeals ruled that the district court abused its discretion in holding evidentiary hearing. Accordingly, first, the court failed to determine the appropriate legal standard for measuring its discretion to grant the hearing. Second, despite the State’s continuous objections to the hearing, the court failed to acknowledge and apply any legal constraint on its discretion at all.

The Court explained, that allowing a habeas petitioner to allege a single instance of ineffective assistance in his state post-conviction proceedings and then proceed to federal court to allege additional instances would be contrary to the state’s “full and fair opportunity to address the claim on the merits.” The state would never have the benefit of evaluating the claim using a fully developed set of facts. This would not be the “serious and meaningful” exhaustion of claims that Congress intended.

Without question, the Florida courts will no longer entertain on the merits of the claims petitioner has asserted for the first time in the instant petition. See, e.g., Aldridge v. State, 503 So.2d 1257, 1258 (Fla.1987) (holding that a state prisoner is procedurally barred from raising on a second motion for postconviction relief “somewhat different facts to support his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim”). A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said clearly, petitioner could demonstrate no cause for not having raised the lawyer-related instance of ineffective assistance of counsel in the Rule 3.850 proceeding. There was no conceivable impediment to raising it.

The suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request 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, 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 1196-97, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). As the Supreme Court later clarified, there are three components of a true Brady violation: (1) The evidence at issue must be favorable to the accused, either because it is exculpatory, or because it is impeaching; (2) that evidence must have been suppressed by the State, either willfully or inadvertently; and (3) prejudice must have ensued. Whether or not the items the district court identified should have been disclosed to defense counsel, their effect taken individually and cumulatively could not have been legally significant to the outcome of petitioner’s trial. Defense counsel effectively capitalized — in one way or another — on every potentially valuable argument the five items support, even though the items themselves were unavailable to counsel at the time of trial. It follows in this instance that the pretrial disclosure of the items would not have created a “reasonable probability that … the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Thus, although the State ultimately prevailed in a factually challenging case, petitioner’s due process rights were not offended.

Stephen Bilkis and Associates with its competent New York Criminal Lawyers can argue your case to afford you a fair trial. It has offices located within New York Metropolitan area, including Corona, New York.

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