innocent guy gets new trial

26 Jan

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It’s always good when any court  ruling starts like this: “The Habeas Corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law, whatever shape it may assume. — Thomas Jefferson.”  This poor guy has been in prison for 19 years (serving a 75 year sentence) for armed robbery.  Now he’s been awarded a new trial. His original habeas petition was denied because he could not prove he was innocent even though he submitted declarations from accomplices stating that he did not perpetrate the crime. The evidence at trial that he was good for it was exceedingly week.

But, the habeas statute in CA has been amended. Under the new law (PC 1473, subd. (b)(3)(A)), a defendant doesn’t have to prove innocence to win if he can show he has found material new evidence that would have, more likely than not, changed the outcome at trial had the jury heard it.  Under this lower standard, the appellate court held that the new evidence warranted a new trial.  Hopefully there is no new trial and he is immediately released.

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