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Table of Contents

Examples of Serious Error Warranting State Post-Conviction or Federal Habeas Corpus Relief; with Contact Information*

Arranged by State

AL | AR | AZ | CA | FL | GA | ID | IL
IN | KY | LA | MD | MS | MO | MT
NV | NC | OK | PA | SC | TN | TX
VA | WA | WY

Innocence cases: Carriger/Arizona; Knapp/Arizona; Brown/Florida; Miller &Jent/Florida; Nelson/Georgia; Jimerson/Illinois; Bowen/Oklahoma; Munson/Oklahoma; Williamson/Oklahoma; Brandley/Texas, Martinez- Macias/Texas

Cases with multiple serious error: Gunsby/Florida; Buttrum/Georgia; Smith/Montana; Christy/Pennsylvania

Very recent cases: Young/Florida; Collins and Bracy/Illinois; Crivens/Illinois; Parker/Missouri; Wilkins/Missouri; Mazzan/Nevada; Munsey/North Carolina; Hudgins/South Carolina; Spann/South Carolina; Brimmer/Tennessee; Sylvester Smith/Tennessee; Williams v. Taylor/Virginia

Pattern of wrongful convictions (often due to prosecutorial suppression of evidence): See Arizona cases; Oklahoma cases

Chronic incompetent lawyering: See Missouri cases; Tennessee cases (many more cases can be supplied)

Chronic prosecutorial suppression of evidence of innocence and other prosecutorial misconduct: See Florida cases; North Carolina cases; Oklahoma cases; also Alabama and Arizona cases

States with error running the gamut and large numbers of serious errors found: See Florida cases; Georgia cases; Illinois cases; Texas cases

Racial discrimination in selecting jurors: Floyd/Alabama; Ford/Arkansas, Amadeo/Georgia

Lawyers with multiple cases on the list:

John H. Blume, Esq., Columbia, SC, 803-765-1044: Butler/South Carolina; Spann/South Carolina

Professor John C. Boger, U. No. Car. L. School, 919-962-843-9288: McDowell/ North Carolina; Jurek/Texas; Estelle v. Smith/Texas

Stephen B. Bright, Esq., Atlanta, GA, 404-688-1202: Amadeo/Georgia; Wheat/Mississippi

Prof. Randall T.E. Coyne, Univ. of Oklahoma Law School, 405-325-4646: Munson/Oklahoma; Martinez-Macias/Texas

Laura Wightman FitzSimmons, Esq., Las Vegas, NV, 702-733-8877: Jimenez/Nevada; Miranda/Nevada

Professor Eric Freedman, Hofstra Law School, NY, NY, 212-665-2713: Monroe/Louisiana; McCormick/Texas; Earl Washington/Virginia

George Kendall, Esq., NY, NY, 212-965-2267: Buttrum/Georgia; Cervi/Georgia; Curry/Georgia; Ross/Georgia

Professor James S. Liebman, NY, NY, 212-854-3423: Kyles/Louisiana; Houston/Tennessee

Mark Olive, Esq., Tallahassee, FL, 850-224-0004: Michael/Florida; Roman/Florida; Troedel/Florida; Wilson/Florida

Bryan Stevenson, Esq., Montgomery, AL, 334-269-1803: Jefferson/AL McMillian/AL

Denise Young, Esq., Tucson, AZ, 520-322-5344: Carriger/AZ; Serna/AZ


Ex parte Floyd, 571 So.2d 1234 (Ala. 1990) (conviction overturned because prosecutor intentionally discriminated against African American jurors by using his first 11 (of 12) peremptory challenges to strike all 11 African-Americans in the jury venire; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: Christopher Knight, Esq., Mobile, AL Charles Hollifield, Esq., Montgomery, AL

Jefferson v. State, 645 So. 2d 313 (Ala. Crim. App. 1994) (conviction and death sentence overturned because state withheld exculpatory evidence that someone other than the defendant committed the crime and that seriously impeached the credibility of two key prosecution witnesses; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: Bryan A. Stevenson, Esq., Montgomery, AL, 334-269-1803 Ruth E. Friedman, Esq., Washington, D.C. 202-393-8070

Walter McMillian v. State, 616 So. 2d 933 (Ala. Crim. App. 1993) (conviction and death sentence overturned because state (1) suppressed exculpatory evidence impeaching its principal witness (who subsequently recanted) and (2) failed to disclose evidence creating a reasonable probability that the outcome of the guilt-innocence trial would have been different had the evidence been disclosed; petitioner subsequently released from custody as innocent)

CONTACT: Bryan A. Stevenson, Esq., 334-269-1803

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Carriger v. Stewart, 132 F.3d 463 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 1827 (1998) (prosecutor failed to disclose information in state's files showing that prosecution's central witness-who later confessed to the murder he successfully pinned on Carriger at trial-had a "long history" of prior crimes and assaultive acts and "of lying to the police and blaming others to cover up his own guilt"; on retrial, Carriger was released from prison)

CONTACT: Jay Pultz, Esq., Center for Capital Assistance, San Francisco, CA 415-621-8860
Denise Young, Esq., Tucson, AZ, 520-322-5344
Prof. Samuel Gross, U. Mich. Law School, 734-764-1519

State v. Knapp (conviction and death sentence overturned in 1987 on third state post-conviction petition due to newly discovered scientific evidence of innocence and police and prosecutorial misconduct, as described in Knapp v. Knapp, 823 P.2d 625 (Ariz. 1992); Knapp was subsequently released as innocent, as detailed in Roger Parloff, Triple Jeopardy (1996))

CONTACT: Larry Hammond, Esq., LAHammond@omlaw.com, 602-640-0000 Roger Parloff, NY, NY, 212-313-9050

State v. Serna (Maricopa Cnty. Super. Ct. No. 150464, 1994) (conviction overturned due to prosecutor's obstruction of defense's ability to find an exculpatory witness; on retrial, state offered and Serna accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter, who was then sentenced to time served and was released from prison, see From Death Row to Halfway House, Phoenix Gazette, Jan. 24, 1995, at B1, 1995 WL 2752207)

CONTACT: Denise Young, Esq., Tucson, AZ, 520-322-5344

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Ford v. Norris, 67 F.3d 162 (8th Cir. 1995) (conviction and death sentence overturned because of "overwhelming record evidence . . . that the prosecutor routinely attempted to pervert the peremptory challenge system by using it to exclude black venirepersons for reasons wholly unrelated to the trial" and did so at Ford's trial, striking every potential black juror, and giving an explanation in each case that was blatantly pretextual because it was either a false statement of the facts regarding the prospective juror or, if true, would have required the prosecutor to strike white jurors whom he left on the jury; district judge also found ineffective assistance of trial counsel at the sentencing phase)

CONTACT: Timothy O. Dudley, Little Rock, Arkansas, 501-372-0080

Orndorff v. Lockhart, 998 F.2d 1426 (8th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1063 (1994) (prosecutor failed to inform defense that key witness in favor of death penalty was hypnotized prior to trial, preventing fair cross-examination concerning discrep-ancies between witness's prehypnotic and posthypnotic statements to police)

CONTACT: Kenneth Breckenridge, Hot Springs, AR,

Sheridan v. State, 959 S.W.2d 29 (Ark. 1998) (conviction overturned due to representation by attorney with blatant conflict of interest; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: Deborah Sallings, Esq., 501-340-6120

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In re Jones, 13 Cal.4th 552 (1996) (conviction and sentence overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel; Jones subsequently was released in lieu of retrial)

CONTACT: Charles M. Bonneau, Sacramento, CA, 916-444-8828

In re Neely, 6 Cal.4th 901 (1993) (conviction overturned to ineffective assistance of counsel; on retrial, Neely was given a life sentence)

CONTACT: Karen S. Sorensen, Kentfield, CA

Wade v. Calderon, 29 F.3d 1312 (9th Cir. 1994) (sentence of death based on unconstitutionally vague special circumstance of torture-mur-der and based on prejudicially ineffective representation at penalty phase due to counsel's failure to present any significant evidence of defendant's child abuse and his argument to the jury that executing defendant would benefit him by freeing him of his mental illness)

CONTACT: Barry P. Helft, Donald J. Ayoob, Deputy State Public Defenders, San Francisco, CA, 415-553-9650
Michael R. Levine, Asst. Federal Public Defender, Portland, OR

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Arango v. State, 497 So.2d 1161 (Fla. 1986) (conviction overturned due to prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory evidence supporting Arango's defense that someone else committed the offense)

CONTACT: Sharon Jacobs, Esq., Miami, FL

Brown v. Wainwright, 785 F.2d 1457 (11th Cir. 1986) (state deliberately withheld fact that chief witness against Brown lied on the stand about not having been granted leniency in return for testifying against Brown, who was released from prison after the charges against him were dropped)

CONTACT: Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, Hartford, CT
David Golub, Stanford, CT, 203-325-4491
Also contact Brown himself, now Shebaka Waglini, at 202-789- 2126

Miller and Jent v. Wainwright, Nos. 86-98-Vic.-T-13 and 85-1910-Civ.-T-13 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 13, 1987) (prosecutor exhibited "callous and deliberate disregard for ... truth" by suppressing police reports identifying numerous witnesses who were fishing at the location where the victim's body was found at the only time the two capitally sentenced petitioners (who otherwise had an airtight alibi defense) could have deposited the victim's body and who saw nothing amiss); pled to lesser offense in order that they could be released on time served).

CONTACT: Sharlette Holdman, San Francisco, CA, 415-621-8860

Gunsby v. State, 670 So.2d 920 (Fla. 1996) (new trial required due to cumulative effect of ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to discovery exculpatory evidence that Gunsby was not the perpetrator, and the state's suppression of the fact that two of its crucial witnesses testified against Gunsby in return for lenient treatment in their own criminal cases; state did not seek death sentenced on retrial and life sentence was imposed upon reconviction)

CONTACT: Hon. Bruce Peterson, Minneapolis, MN, 612-596-7126
John M. Baker, Esq., Greene, Espel, Minneapolis, MN, 612-373- 8344
James C. Lohman, Tallahassee, 850-878-8260

State v. John Michael, 530 So.2d 929 (Fla. 1987) (death sentence overturned due to penalty-phase lawyer's ineffective assistance in failing to investigate and secure expert support for defendant's mental condition as basis for mitigation)

CONTACT: Mark E. Olive, Esq., Tallahassee, FL, 850-224-0004

Porter v. State, 723 So.2d 191 (Fla. 1998) (death sentence overturned because sentencing judge was manifestly and admittedly biased against Porter on the issue of sentence; life sentence imposed on retrial on Dec. 2, 1999)

CONTACT: Martin J. McClain, Esq., NY, NY, 212-577-3429
Todd Scher, Esq., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 954-713-1284

Roman v. State, 528 So.2d 1169 (Fla. 1988) (conviction overturned due to state's failure to disclose highly exculpatory statements by witness who gave highly inculpatory testimony at trial)

CONTACT: Mark Olive, Esq., Tallahassee, FL., 850-224-0004

Troedel v. Dugger, 828 F.2d 670 (11th Cir. 1987), aff'g 667 F. Supp. 1426 (S.D. Fla. 1986) (prosecutor suborned testimony of expert witness at separate trials of two codefendants that each codefendant had to have been sole triggerman in single killing with which both were charged and for which Troedel was sentenced to death)

CONTACT: Mark Olive, Esq., Tallahassee, FL., 850-224-0004

Wilson v. Wainwright, 474 So.2d 1162 (Fla. 1985) (conviction overturned due to egregious ineffective assistance of Wilson appellate attorney; on reappeal, the Florida Supreme Court determined that the evidence did not support a death sentence, and order that a life sentence be imposed)

CONTACT: Mark Olive, Esq., Tallahassee, FL., 850-224-0004

Young v. State, 739 So.2d 553 (Fla. 1999) (death sentence overturned due to state's suppression of eyewitness statements to police supporting Young's defense that he fired his weapon in self-defense after the victim had first fired a shot at Young; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: Martin J. McClain, Esq., NY, NY, 212-577-3429
Todd Scher, Esq., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 954-713-1284

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Amadeo v. Zant, 486 U.S. 214 (1988) (prosecutor unconstitutionally instructed jury commissioner to under-represent African-Americans on the jury venire).

CONTACT: Stephen B. Bright, Esq., Atlanta, GA, 404-688-1202

Buttrum v. Black, 908 F.2d 965 (11th Cir. 1990) and 721 F. Supp. 1261 (N.D. Ga. 1989) (prosecutor unconstitutionally secured death sentence based on a plethora of errors, including (1) insisting on going to trial before a jury saturated with prejudicial pretrial publicity; (2) employing a private psychiatrist to testify against Buttrum but insisting that she be limited to the services of a psychiatrist employed by and beholden to the state, in lieu of the independent expert the Constitution requires; (3) blatantly and unconstitutionally inviting the jurors to use hold Buttrum the fact that she had exercised her right not to testify; (4) urging the jury, whatever its qualms about a death sentence, to impose that punishment because the decision would later be reviewed by appellate judges who would bear the real responsibility for Buttrum's fate; (5) urging the jury to ignore factors warranting mercy, notwithstanding that the Constitution makes those very factors the crux of the sentencing decision; (6) relying on a vague and overbroad aggravating circumstance as a basis for a death sentence; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: George H. Kendall, Esq., NY, NY, 212-965-2267

Cervi v. Kemp, 855 F.2d 702 (11th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1033 (1989) (after Cervi informed the judge at an initial hearing that he wanted a lawyer, thus giving him a constitutional right to the assistance of counsel before and while being questioned by police-and during the very period when Cervi's lawyer was in the police station repeatedly demanding to see his client, but was denied the opportunity-police interrogated Cervi until he confessed; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: George H. Kendall, Esq., NY, NY, 212-965-2267

Curry v. Zant, 371 S.E.2d 647 (Ga. 1988) (conviction overturned due to counsel's ineffective failure to secure expert evaluation of Curry's mental status at the time of the offense which would have provided substantial evidence that Curry was not sane at the time of the offense and was not capable of intelligently and voluntarily waiving his right to counsel when he confessed; on retrial, Curry was permitted to plead to life (Washington Cnty. Super. Ct. No. 7))

CONTACT: David Lane, Esq., Denver, CO, 303-534-6400
George H. Kendall, Esq., 212-965-2267

Davis v. Zant, 36 F.3d 1538 (11th Cir. 1994) (conviction and death sentence overturned due to blatant prosecutorial misrepresentations to the jury in the course of objections and closing argument: having successfully objected to Davis' effort to inform the jury that another person had confessed to the killing with which Davis was charged, and having known that Davis, for months before trial, had hinged his defense on his claim that the other person was the killer, the prosecutor repeatedly stated to the jury that there was no evidence that the other person had committed the crime and that Davis had "fabricated" the defense at the last minute, during the course of the trial)

CONTACT: Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Jenner & Block, Washington D.C., 202-639- 6000

Francis v. Franklin, 471 U.S. 307 (1985) (trial judge instructed jury to "presume" that defendant was guilty of murder unless defendant proved otherwise)

CONTACT: Ronald J. Tabak, Esq. NY, NY, Skadden, Arps, State, Meagher &Flom, 212-735-2226

Harrison v. Zant, 402 S.E.2d 518 (Ga. 1991) (conviction overturned due to ineffective assistance of attorneys who presented fractured and inconsistent defenses; on retrial, Harrison pled to life sentence, Hall Cnty. Super. Ct. No. K84-48,139)

CONTACT: Ogden N. Lewis, Esq., Davis, Polk & Wardlaw, NY, NY, 212-450- 4000

Turpin v. Lipham, 510 S.E.2d 32 (Ga. 1998) (death sentence overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel in simply presenting jury with 2500 pages of Lipham's psychiatric records without presenting an expert or taking any other steps to assist the jury in understanding how mitigating the information was; retrial pending)

CONTACT: Greg Alexander Alexion, Esq., Brooklyn, NY John Youngblood, NY, NY

Nelson v. Zant, 405 S.E.2d 250 (Ga. 1991) (state suppressed FBI analyses establishing that the limb hair the state's expert had used to connect defendant to the crime lacked sufficient characteristics for microscopic analysis). Nelson was thereupon released from prison and not retried because, as the district attorney admitted, there was no valid evidence implicating him in the offense. See Jingle Davis & Mark Curriden, Man Condemned for Murder of Girl Is Freed, Atlanta Const., Nov. 7, 1991, at O6)

CONTACT: Emmett J. Bondurant II, Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, Atlanta, GA, 404-881-4100

Zant v. Pitts, 436 S.E.2d 4 (Ga. 1993) (death sentence overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to inform jury that petitioner was retarded, even though that created a bar to the death penalty under Georgia law; on retrial, state agreed to life sentence, Floyd Cnty. Super. Ct. No. S93A-1151, Aug. 22, 1996))

CONTACT: Mitchell D. Raup, Esq., Mayer, Brown & Platt, Washington, DC, 202-263-3257

Ross v. Kemp, 393 S.E.2d 244 (Ga. 1990) (conviction overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel and co-counsel who presented inconsistent defenses, severely prejudicing Ross; on retrial, petitioner permitted to plead to life sentence, DeKalb Cnty. Super. Ct. No. 83-CR-2635)

CONTACT: George H. Kendall, Esq., NY, NY, 212-965-2267

Strickland v. Francis, 738 F.2d 1542 (11th Cir. 1984) (state court violated Strickland's due process rights by forcing him to trial despite mental disorders so severe and unequivocal that he had no idea what the proceedings were about and could not assist his attorney)

CONTACT: Millard Farmer, Esq., Atlanta, Georgia, 404-688-8116

Wallace v. Kemp, 757 F.2d 1102 (11th Cir. 1985) (Georgia) (capitally sentenced petitioner found to have been incompetent to assist attorney at trial). On retrial after being restored to sanity, Wallace was acquitted)

CONTACT: Elyse Aussenberg, Hyatt Legal Svcs., Atlanta, Ga., Risa L. Lieberwitz, N.Y. State School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Ithaca, N.Y., Frank L. Derrickson, Atlanta, Ga.

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Beam v. Paskett, 3 F.3d 1301 (9th Cir. 1993), cert denied, 511 U.S. 1060 (1994) (death sentence premised in part on trial judge's distaste for peti-tioner's prior history of nonviolent "abnormal sexual relation-ships," including homosexuality and relation-ships with women substantially younger and older than petitioner).

CONTACT: David Skeen, Port Townsend, WA and Gar Hackney, Lynn, Scott, Hackney & Jackson, Boise, ID

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United States ex rel. Collins v. Wellborn and United States ex rel. Bracy v. Gramley, 79 F. Supp. 898 (N.D. Ill. 1999) (death sentences overturned based on proof that trial judge, who repeatedly took bribes to acquit in other cases, exhibited compensatory pro-prosecution bias against Collins and Bracy and other defendants who did not bribe him)

CONTACT: Robert Hugh Farley, Naperville, IL, Stephen E. Eberhardt, Tinley Park, IL, for Roger Collins; _John Ladell Stainthorp, Chicago, IL and Gilbert H. Levy, Seattle, WA for Bracy; and , Daniel R. Collins, Ramsell & Armamentos, Wheaton, IL, for both

Crivens v. Roth, 172 F.3d 991 (7th Cir. 1999) (prosecutor failed to disclose that its key eyewitness had a criminal history and had used an alias in past, thereby "demonstrat[ing] a propensity to lie to police officers, prosecutors, and even judges").

CONTACT: Brian D. Roche, J. Samuel Tenenbaum, Lisa J. Krasberg, Henry Pietrkowski, Sachnoff & Weaver, Chicago, IL

United States ex rel. Maxwell v. Gilmore, 37 F. Supp. 2d 1078 (N.D. Ill. 1999) (granting evidentiary hearing to capitally sentenced habeas petitioner and denying presumption of correctness to state court's voluntary-confession finding because the state suppression-hearing judge "did not have access to the voluminous [subsequently disclosed] information about the systematic . . . [physical] abuse [of suspects by the police unit that interrogated and secured a confession from Maxwell], . . . and Maxwell's attorney never had the opportunity to use that information to cross-examine the officers who testified at the suppression hearing"). In regard to the police unit that took the confession in Maxwell's case, see Sasha Abramsky, Trial by Torture, Mother Jones, March 3, 2000 ("Dozens of other prisoners [including 10 death row inmates] have come forward saying they were tortured into confessing by police officers from . . . Area Two" and presenting "hair-raising and remarkably consistent [claims] . . . of alligator clips attached to their ears, noses, mouths, penises, and testicles; of electric shocks to the genitals; of being burned atop radiators" and of "mock executions" and "bags put over their heads for minutes at a time, a technique known as the 'Dry Submarino'")

CONTACT: Gary Ravitz, Eric Palles, Chicago, IL

People v. Jimerson, 652 N.E.2d 278 (1995) (conviction overturned due to prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory evidence and countenancing of perjury by crucial witness against Jimerson who denied being offered a deal in return for her testimony; trial court dismissed the charges and defendant was released due to the absence of any evidence of guilt and due to DNA evidence implicating 4 other men, 3 of whom eventually confessed to the crime (the 4th had died) and one of whom had killed another of his rape victims in the meantime)

CONTACT: Mark R. Ter Molen, Esq., Mayer, Brown & Platt, 312-782-0600
Fredrick S. Levin, Esq., 213-229-5124
Professor Andrea D. Lyon, U. Mich. Law. School, 734-647-4091
Jesse A. Witten, Esq., Nussbaum & Wald, Washington, DC, 202- 879-5451

People v. Lego, 660 N.E.2d 971 (Ill. 1995) (conviction overturned due to Lego's manifest incompetence to stand trial, due to organic brain damage, to waive counsel and represent himself at his capital trial; resentenced to sentence less than death)

CONTACT: Charles Schiedel, 217-782-1989 Charles Hoffman, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Chicago, IL, 312-814-5100

People v. Ruiz, 686 N.E.2d 574 (Ill. 1997) (sentence overturned due to ineffective assistance of counsel, who failed to investigate and discover substantial bases for mitigation of sentence; on retrial, judge determined that death sentence would be disproportionate to life sentence given co-offender; state's appeal is pending)

CONTACT: Richard H. McLeese, Thomas D. Decker & Associates, Chicago, 312-922-4180

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Smith v. State, 547 N.E.2d 817 (Ind. 1990) (conviction overturned due to egregious ineffective assistance of counsel; on retrial, Smith was acquitted of all charges)

CONTACT: Teresa D. Harper, 812-333-5355
Rhonda R. Long-Sharp, 317-630-0137

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Kordenbrock v. Scroggy, 919 F.2d 1091 (6th Cir. 1990) (en banc), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 970 (1991) (police obtained confession after (1) ignoring petitioner's statements that he wanted the interrogation to stop, (2) threatening to arrest petitioner's girlfriend (against whom they had no evidence) and (3) threatening to send petitioner to Ohio, where, police said, he could be held incommunicado and put through "an ordeal [he] may not forget for a long time," then (4) suppressed the tape-recorded version of the confession and pieced together a written statement giving a far more inculpatory account than the actual confession)

CONTACT: Edward C. Monahan, 502-564-8006, Ext. 236

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Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995) (in investigating robbery-murder of supermarket customer in store's parking lot, New Orleans police (1) accepted the word of a long-time criminal and police informant Beanie, whom police found in possession of the victim's car, that Curtis Kyles had sold him the car, while suppressing a variety of statements by Beanie that (a) were inculpatory, self-contradictory and inconsistent with Beanie's trial testimony, (b) suggested that Beanie (in his own words) had "'set up'" Kyles, and (c) revealed a course of dealings between Beanie and the police that strongly impugned the investigation, then (2) manipulated eyewitnesses into identifying Kyles at trial, inconsistently with their initial but thereafter suppressed descriptions that much more closely matched Beanie; a majority of jurors in three successive retrials voted to acquit Kyles, whom prosecutors finally released from custody)

CONTACT: Prof. James S. Liebman, Columbia Law School, NY, NY, 212-854-3423

Monroe v. Blackburn, 748 F.2d 958 (5th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1145 (1985) (Louisiana) (state failed to disclose that police obtained information after trial that someone other than petitioner may have committed the murder)

CONTACT: Prof. Eric Freedman, Hofstra Law School, NY, NY, 212-665-2713
Douglas G. Morris, Esq., Brooklyn, NY, 718-330-1209

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Bowers v. State, 578 A.2d 734 (Md. 1990) (conviction overturned based on variety of incompetent errors that trial counsel committed-including in failing to show that forensic evidence found on the victim did not match Bowers, but for which there was a "substantial possibility" that the result of the trial would have been different; lesser sentence imposed on retrial)

CONTACT: Judith R. Catterton, Esq., Catterton, Kemp & Mason, Rockville, MD, 301-294-0460

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Jones v. Thigpen, 788 F.2d 1101 (5th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1087 (1987) (counsel conducted no investigation in mitigation of death penalty and did not realize, or inform jury, that his client had an I.Q. below 41)

CONTACT: T.H. Freeland, III, Freeland & Gafford, T.H. Freeland, IV, Oxford, Miss., Mary Carolyn Ellis, University, Miss.

Stringer v. Black, 503 U.S. 222 (1992) (state appellate court struck down an aggravating circumstance on which a death sentence was based without determining whether a death sentence remained appropriate absent the faulty aggravating circumstance)

CONTACT: Kenneth Rose, Esq., Durham, NC, 919-956-9545

Wheat v. Thigpen, 793 F.2d 621 (5th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 930 (1987) (prosecutor encouraged jurors to exercise less than full responsibility for death sentence by telling jurors that any mistake they made in sentencing the defendant to die would be corrected by an appellate court)

CONTACT: Stephen B. Bright, Esq., Atlanta, GA, 404-688-1202

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State v. Butler, 951 S.W.2d 600 (Mo. 1997) (conviction and death sentence overturned based on ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to investigate and discover evidence that the victim was murdered by her nephew rather than by Butler and in failing to bring out substantial weaknesses in the prosecution's case, either of which could have raised a reasonable doubt in the jurors' minds; on retrial, Butler was convicted of a lesser degree of homicide and given a 20-year term)

CONTACT: Melinda K. Pendergraph, Asst. Public Defender, Columbia, MO, 573-882-9855
Pat Berrigan, Esq., Kansas City, MO, 816-474-3350 , ext. 113.

State v. Dexter, 954 S.W.2d 332 (Mo. 1997) (conviction overturned due to prosecutor's repeated use against Dexter of his invocation of his right to silence; on retrial, Dexter was released after the state dismissed the charges against him for lack of evidence of guilt)

CONTACT: Cyndi Short, Esq., Kansas City, MO, 816-889-7699

Clemons v. Bowersox, 124 F.3d 944 (8th Cir. 1997) (on rehearing after relief initially had been denied, conviction and death sentence were overturned due to the state's suppression of an eye-witness report identifying as the actual killer another man whom Clemons had all along claimed was the culprit; on retrial in February 2000, Clemons was acquitted)

CONTACT: Charles Rogers and Cheryl Pilate, Esqs., Kansas City, MO, 816-221-0080

Parker v. Bowersox, 188 F.3d 923 (8th Cir. 1999) (defense counsel failed to respond to state's argument in aggravation-that defendant killed his girlfriend to eliminate her as a witness against him in a criminal proceeding-by presenting accessible evidence proving that petitioner knew for certain prior to the murder that the victim could and would not testify against him)

CONTACT: Gregg F. Lombardi, Esq., Kansas City, Missouri, 816-531-6565, ext. 103

Wilkins v. Bowersox, 145 F.3d 1006 (8th Cir. 1998), cert. denied 119 S. Ct. 852 (1999)
(conviction and death sentence overturned because the trial court permitted the 16-year old defendant-who "from infancy through his teenage years [had] suffered severe physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his mother and other adults in his life," who "began abusing drugs as a kindergartner on his way to school," who was diagnosed at age 10 "as a severely depressed boy with homicidal and suicidal tendencies," who "was transferred in and out of mental health facilities" between ages 10 and 16, and who court-appointed psychiatrists at trial, on direct appeal and during state post-conviction proceedings had unanimously and consistently concluded could not make voluntary, knowing and intelligent decisions about important matters in his case, and who was never advised by the court or counsel about "his possible defenses to the charges against him . . . or the full range of punishments that he might receive"- to fire his lawyer, represent himself at trial (as a 16-year-old), waive all his rights and plead guilty, and then waive his right to present any evidence in mitigation of the death penalty)

CONTACT: Sean O'Brien, Esq., Kansas City, Mo., 816-363-2795

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Smith v. McCormick, 914 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1990) (state unconstitutionally secured a death sentence against an indigent defendant with mental disorders when the trial judge (1) forced the defense to rely on the psychiatric evaluation of a doctor acting under the direction of the judge (who had previously sentenced Smith to die), rather than appointing the independent psychiatrist required by law in a case in which doing so would have generated substantial mitigating evidence; (2) refused to consider most of the mitigating circumstances that Smith did manage to present; and, (3) as to the limited set of mitigating factors the judge did take into consideration, he refused to assess their overall effect in mitigation, instead insisting that each individual factor be sufficient in itself to warrant a life sentence)

CONTACT: Cliff Gardner, Esq., San Francisco, CA, 415, 922-9404

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Jimenez v. State, 918 P.2d 687 (Nev. 1996) (conviction overturned due to state's suppression of evidence implicating other suspects and impeaching key informant witness against Jiminez; on retrial, Jimenez pled guilty to lesser charge and was released from prison the next year)

CONTACT: Laura Wightman FitzSimmons, Esq., Las Vegas, NV, 702-733-8877

Mazzan v. Warden, 993 P.2d 25 (Nev. 2000) (conviction overturned on third state post-conviction petition due to prosecutorial suppression of police reports "provid[ing] support for Mazzan's defense that someone else murdered [the victim] . .. [and] provid[ing] a basis to impeach the thoroughness of the state's investigation of the crime"; Mazzan was released from prison, see Brendan Riley, Emotional Mazzan Released, Las Vegas Rev.-J., May 7, 2000, at 1)

CONTACT: JoNell Thomas, Esq., Las Vegas, NV, 702-471-6535

Roberto Hernandez Miranda v. Warden, (Nev. S. Ct., No. 17497, Apr. 28, 1988) (judgment overturned due to egregious ineffective assistance of counsel based on counsel's failure to interview 10 witnesses named by his client who were able to exonerate Miranda and identify the actual killer; on remand for retrial, Miranda was released as innocent) [IAC, NG]

CONTACT: Laura Wightman FitzSimmons, Esq., Las Vegas, NV, 702-733-8877

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State v. Bishop, No. 93 CRS 20410-20423 (Guilford Cnty., Jan. 10, 2000) (death sentence overturned because prosecution concealed material, exculpatory evidence and discovery of witness who placed Bishop elsewhere at the time of the crime; retrial pending)

CONTACT: Stephen Dear, 919-933-7567

McDowell v. Dixon, 858 F.2d 945 (4th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1033 (1989) (police withheld the fact that before petitioner's arrest for the offense, the chief prosecution witness-who at trial identified petitioner, a dark-skinned African American man sentenced to die for the offense, as the assailant-had told police that the assailant was white)

CONTACT: Professor John C. Boger, U. No. Car. L. School, 919-962-843-9288

State v. Munsey, No. 93 CRS 4078 (Wilkes Cnty., May 14, 1999) (conviction overturned because prosecution concealed material, exculpatory evidence, another man confessed to the offense, and key witness against Munsey recanted and admitted to giving false testimony; Munsey died while awaiting retrial)

CONTACT: Stephen Dear, 919-933-7567

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Banks v. Reynolds, 54 F.3d 1508 (10th Cir. 1995) (prosecution suppressed evidence that at least three other men were previously arrested for the crime with which petitioner was charged, that two of them had been positively identified by eyewitnesses, and that the cell-mate of one of the previously arrested suspects claimed that suspect had confessed to the crime)

CONTACT: James T. Priest, McKinney, Stringer & Webster, P.C., Oklahoma City, OK, 405-239-6444

Bowen v. Maynard, 799 F.2d 593 (10th Cir.), cert denied, 479 U.S. 962 (1986) (prosecutors suppressed a sheaf of investigative reports that a suspect other than the capitally sentenced petitioner had murdered the victim and that an investigating officer with a grudge against the petitioner had maliciously framed him). Bowen was subsequently released from prison for lack of any evidence of his guilt)

CONTACT: Jack B. Zimmermann and Jim E. Lavine of Zimmermann & Lavine, P.C., Houston, TX
Patrick A. Williams, Williams, Donovan & Savage, Tulsa, OK

State v. Munson, 886 P.2d 999 (Okl. Cr. App. 1994) (conviction overturned because prosecution deliberately withheld 165 photographs and more than 300 pages of reports, most of it suggesting that Munson was innocent; on retrial, Munson was acquitted, see Randall Coyne, Abe Munson's Near-Death Experience, Okla. Observer, Apr. 25, 1995, at 9)

CONTACT: Prof. Randall T.E. Coyne, Univ. of Oklahoma Law School, 405-325-4646

Paxton v. Ward, 199 F.3d 1197 (10th Cir. 1999) (Oklahoma) (overturning judgment because D.A. "clearly and deliberately made two critical misrepresentations to the jury" as an "an integral part of the deprivation of Mr. Paxton's constitutional rights to present mitigating evidence, to rebut evidence and argument used against him, and to confront and cross-examine the state's witnesses")

CONTACT: Robert A. Nance, Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis, Oklahoma City, OK

Williamson v. Ward, 904 F. Supp. 1529 (E.D. Okla. 1995) (overturning capital conviction based on faulty hair analysis which was so "scientifically unreliable" that it should not have been be permitted as evidence of guilt and based on claims that hairs found at the crime scene "matched" the defendant's, although hair analysis can never support that categorical a claim), aff'd, 110 F.3d 1508 (10th Cir. 1997) (affirming reversal of capital conviction on habeas because appointed counsel, who received no funding for expert or investigative services and was paid the statutory maximum of $3200, failed to investigate a videotaped statement by another person confessing to the crime and extensive evidence of petitioner's mental illness and likely incompetence to stand trial). DNA testing subsequently established that Williamson was innocent, and he was released from prison. See Bill Dedman, DNA Evidence Frees Two in Murder Case, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 25, 1999, at 20; Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld & Jim Dwyer, Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution, and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted 126-27, 130-57, 251-54 (2000)

CONTACT: Prof. Barry Scheck, Cardozo Law School, NY, NY, 212-790-0377

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Christy v. Horn, 28 F. Supp. 2d 307 (W.D. Pa. 1998) (prosecutor violated due process by disparaging petitioner's mental illness defense despite the prosecutor's awareness of inadmissible evidence substantiating the defense and by implicitly encouraging the jury to believe, erroneously, that petitioner might be eligible for parole if sentenced to life imprisonment; in addition, the trial court unconstitutionally denied a defense request for an independent psychiatrist at guilt and penalty stages and instead limited the accused to a court-appointed psychiatrists who was not competent to marshal the necessary facts; in addition, Christy's attorneys provided prejudicially incompetent representation at the penalty phase by "fail[ing] to investigate the mountain of mitigating evidence readily available to them," failing to seek psychiatric testimony, failing to object to the prosecutor's improper closing argument, and incorrectly advising the jury about Pennsylvania law in a manner that was highly prejudicial to Christy)

CONTACT: W. Thomas McGough, Jr., Pittsburgh, PA, 412-288-3088
John C. Unkovic, Pamina Ewing, Eric Chaffin, Pittsburgh, PA

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Butler v. State, 397 S.E.2d 87 (S.C. 1990) (convictions and death sentence vacated via state habeas within the original jurisdiction of the South Carolina Supreme Court because trial court coerced Butler, who was mentally retarded, into testifying at trial against his will and in violation of his privilege against self-incrimination; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: John H. Blume, Esq., Columbia, SC, 803-765-1044

Joseph Hudgins v. Moore, 1999 WL 1114701 (S.C. Dec. 6, 1999) (conviction and death sentence vacated due to ineffective assistance of counsel in permitting prosecutor to pursue patently inadmissible and prejudicial line of inquiry while cross-examining Hudgins; retrial pending)

CONTACT: David I. Bruck, Esq., Columbia, SC, 803-765-1044

State v. Spann, 513 S.E.2d 98 (S.C. 1999) (after direct appeal and first state post-conviction proceeding and in midst of federal habeas corpus proceeding, conviction overturned on extraordinary motion for new trial based on discovery of evidence appearing to exonerate petitioner of offense; retrial pending)

CONTACT: John H. Blume, Esq., Columbia, SC, 803-765-1044

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Brimmer v. State, 1998 WL 612888 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 15, 1998) (death sentence overturned due to egregious ineffective assistance of counsel by intoxicated and drug-abusing defense lawyer at the penalty phase; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: W. Thomas Dillard, Esq., Ritchie, Fels & Dillard, P.C., Knoxville, TN, 865-637-0661

Cooper v. State, 847 S.W.2d 521 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1992) (death sentence overturned due to defense counsel's materially prejudicial failure to interview mental health experts who had evaluated defendant prior to trial and who were aware of substantial mitigating evidence; Cooper was not returned to death row)

CONTACT: William B. Mitchell Carter, Karen Broadway Petosa, Esqs., Chattanooga, TN

Groseclose v. Bell, 130 F.3d 1161 (6th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 1826 (1998) (counsel failed to develop defense theory and "to conduct any meaningful adversarial challenge, as shown by his failure to cross-examine more than half of the prosecutions' witnesses, to object to any evidence, to put on any defense witnesses, to make a closing argument, and, at sentencing, to put only any meaningful mitigation evidence"; instead, counsel abdicated client's case to counsel for codefendant who presented a defense that was antagonistic to Groseclose)

CONTACT: Larry D. Woods, Esq., Woods & Woods, Nashville, TN, 615-259-4366

Rickman v. Bell, 131 F.3d 1150 (6th Cir. 1997), cert. denied , 118 S. Ct. 1827 (1998) (counsel's "total failure to actively advocate his client's cause" and "repeated expressions of contempt for his client for his alleged actions" had the effect of "provid[ing] [petitioner] not with a defense counsel, but with a second prosecutor")

CONTACT: Henry Martin, Paul Bottei, Esqs., Nashville, TN, 615-736-5047

Sylvester Smith v. State, 1999 WL 899362 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 28, 1998) (conviction and death sentence overturned due to "the plethora and gravity of counsel's deficiencies," which were "glaring . . . throughout all phases of this trial" and "rendered the entire proceeding fundamentally unfair"; resentenced to life)

CONTACT: William P. Redick, Jr., Esq., Whites Creek, TN, 615-742-9865

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Ex Parte Brandley, 781 S.W.2d 886 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989) (conviction overturned because that prosecution suppressed evidence placing other suspects at scene of crime near time the crime was perpetrated, its suggestive conduct of investigation so as to create false testimony, and it failure to resolve conflicts in physical evidence; released in lieu of retrial)

CONTACT: Mike DeGeurin, Paul Nugent, Esqs., Houston, TX, 713-655-9000 Martinez-Macias v. Collins, 810 F. Supp. 782 (W.D. Tex. 1991), aff'd, 979 F.2d 1067 (5th Cir. 1992) (conviction and death sentence overturned due to egregious, comprehensive, prejudicial incompetence by trial lawyer who (1) failed to call disinterested alibi witness who was available at time of trial and whose testimony would have established that Macias could not have committed the offense; (2) failed to impeach a crucial prosecution witness with her contradictory statements before trial to a private investigator and by calling witnesses who were with the witness at the critical time and did not see what she saw; (3) failed to investigate and present evidence from defendant's family members regarding Macias's good character traits, failed to prepare defendant's wife for testimony, and failed to utilize records from a California rehabilitation center to demonstrate the defendant's good behavior and attempts to rehabilitate while in custody; (4) failed to utilize an expert witness to introduce important mitigating information-all of which, taken together, left the federal court of appeals "with the firm conviction that Macias was denied his constitutional right to adequate counsel in a capital case in which actual innocence was a close question" and that the "state [having] paid defense counsel $11.84 per hour[,] [u]nfortunately . . . got only what it paid for"; on remand, Macias was released after a grand jury determined that there was not even enough evidence of guilt to justify indicting him)

CONTACT: Douglas G. Robinson, Esq., Skadden, Arps, State, Meagher &Flom, Washington, D.C., 202-371-7000

Prof. Randall T.E. Coyne, Univ. of Oklahoma Law School, 405-325- 4646

Guerra v. Johnson, 916 F. Supp. 620 (S.D. Tex. 1995), aff'd, 90 F.3d 1075 (5th Cir. 1996) (police and prosecutors, among other things, "intimidated" numerous eyewitnesses, who initially said that petitioner's companion fired the fatal shots, into corroborating the prosecution's theory that Guerra had fired the shots-in the process coercing witnesses into giving testimony and into signing affidavits that the police and witnesses knew were false; police told one witness that her common-law husband was at risk of parole revocation if she did not cooperate and told another witness that her infant daughter could be taken from her if she refused to cooperate; district judge concluded that the defendant would surely have been acquitted if he had received a fair trial; on retrial, the D.A. demanded that the state trial judge reconsider all of the federal courts' findings about prosecutorial misconduct, which the trial judge did, concluding that the findings were accurate in all respects; in April 1997, the D.A. dropped all charges against Guerra, and he was released; Guerra died in an automobile accident four months later)

CONTACT: Scott J. Atlas, Vinson & Elkins, Houston, TX, 713-758-2024
Stanley Schneider, Schneider & McKinney, Houston, TX, 713-951-9555

Jurek v. Estelle, 623 F.2d 929 (5th Cir. 1980) (en banc), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 1001 (1981) (habeas decision overturning a capital conviction after police obtained two very different confessions from the mentally deficient petitioner during a 42-hour period of interrogation without counsel; the exculpatory version of the confession, not admitted at trial, appeared to be in the defendant's words; the inculpatory version, used at trial, had prose beyond defendant's ken)

CONTACT: John Charles Boger, U. No. Car. L. School, 919-843-9288
Jay Topkis, Esq., Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, NY, NY, 212-373-3000

Ex Parte McCormick and Ex Parte McMahon, 645 S.W.2d 801 (Tex. Crim. App. 1983) (convictions overturned due to capital attorney's irreconcilable conflict of interest in representing two criminal defendant's with conflicting defenses; both were resentenced to life and have since been released on parole)

CONTACT: Prof. Eric Freedman, Hofstra Law School, NY, NY, 212-665-2713 (for McCormick)
Marc Fleisher, Esq., NY, NY, 212-595-0595 (for McCormick)
Frederick T. Davis, Esq, Shearman & Sterling, NY, NY, 212-848-4675 (for McMahon)

Estelle v. Smith, 451 U.S. 454 (1981) (state-employed psychiatrist permitted to testify at death penalty phase based on petitioner's pretrial statements that were not freely and voluntarily given and that were made without counsel or waiver of counsel)

CONTACT: John Charles Boger, U. No. Car. L. School, 919-962-843-9288

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Stockton v. Virginia, 852 F.2d 740 (4th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1071 (1989) (in lunch break during jury's death sentenc-ing delibera-tions, courtroom deputies allowed owner of restaurant in which jurors were eating to tell jurors "they ought to fry the son of a bitch")

CONTACT: Louis Martin Bograd, Donald G. Frankel, Kevin S. Marks, Joseph G. Poluka, Pamela K. Chen, Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C., 202-942-5000

Williams v. Taylor, 120 S. Ct. 1495 (2000) (death sentence overturned due to incompetence of Williams' trial attorneys who "did not begin to prepare for [the penalty trial] until a week before" it took place, "failed to conduct an investigation that would have uncovered extensive records graphically describing Williams' nightmarish childhood, not because of any strategic calculation but because they incorrectly thought that state law barred access to such records," thereby kept "the jury [from] learn[ing] that Williams' parents had been imprisoned for the criminal neglect of Williams and his siblings, that Williams had been severely and repeatedly beaten by his father, that he had been committed to the custody of the social services bureau for two years during his parents' incarceration (including one stint in an abusive foster home), and then, after his parents were released from prison, had been returned to his parents' custody"; concluding that "there existed 'a reasonable probability that the result of the sentencing phase would have been different' if the jury had heard that evidence")

CONTACT: Brian A. Powers, Esq., O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue, 202-362-0041

Earl Washington (in 1992, Virginia governor commuted capital conviction and death sentence to life imprisonment based on DNA evidence showing that Washington, who was retarded, had been compelled to confessed to a rape-murder that he did not commit; see Robert Perske, Unequal Justice? 54-56 (1991); Joe Jackson & June Arney, Sentenced To Die Without Fair Trials, Virginian-Pilot & Ledger Star, June 26, 1994, at A1; David Swanson, Retarded Man Awaits DNA Decision, Culpeper News, May 25, 2000, at 1)

CONTACT: Eric M. Freedman, Hofstra Law School, NY, NY, 212-665-2713
Gerald T. Zerkin, Richmond, VA, 804-788-4412

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Harris v. Wood, 64 F.3d 1432 (9th Cir. 1995) (counsel's incompetently failed to interview a majority of the witnesses, advice to the defendant to confess to the prosecutor without receiving any promise of reduced charges in return, and failure to file potentially meritorious suppression motions, to propose or object to improper jury instructions, and to raise and preserve meritorious issues for appeal)

CONTACT: Allen M. Ressler, Esq., Browne & Ressler, Seattle, WA, 206-624- 7364
Kany M. Levine, 360-779-6038

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shillinger v. Haworth, 70 F.3d 1132 (10th Cir. 1995) (deputy sheriff's listened in on and reported to prosecutor the substance of defense counsel's jailhouse conversations with the client, in blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel)

CONTACT: Professor Emeritus Gerald Gallivan, University of Wyoming College of Law, 307-766-6416 (dean's office at U. of WY)

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