People often call us and ask if there is anything that can be done for their loved one who is in prison after their initial criminal appeals have been denied. The United States Supreme Court recently answered that question in Smith vs. Cain decided on January 10, 2012.
In this case the accused was serving many years in prison. After he was convicted it was discovered that the police had failed to turn over critical evidence to the defense. There was only one eye witness who placed the accused at the scene of the robbery. This witness had told the police in the initial reports that he could never identify the robber and all he could say is that it was a “black man”.
Even after this new evidence was discovered all of the state courts turned own the accused appeals including the state supreme court. If the accused had stopped fighting he would be spending many more years in prison. However, he was wise enough to appeal his conviction to the United States Supreme Court. Even the very conservative US Supreme Court realized that this conviction could not stand.
By a vote of 8 to 1 they reversed his conviction and granted Mr. Smith a new trial. There is a great chance that at a new trial with all of the evidence presented Mr. Smith will be found not guilty.
Please remember that if you give up on your appellate rights you will lose any chance of receiving a new trial. While this type of result does not occur very often, what is critical to remember is that it DOES HAPPEN and if it is your loved one spending years or decades or life in prison don’t you owe it to that loved one to keep fighting for them?
We are interested in knowing what you think about this injustice and you have to wondering how law enforcement can get away with “hiding the ball” from the defense. We certainly are