Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday roundup

TalkLeft refers us to the New York Times article about a forthcoming NAS report on the sorry state of forensic science in America.

Via Capital Defense Weekly, comes news of this interesting development in Texas regarding post-conviction claims of innocence:

the Texas CCA today granted a writ today using “actual innocence as a procedural gateway through which to [address] his otherwise barred constitutional claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel.”

NPR gives coverage to the case of Timothy Cole, whose family appeared in court yesterday and today in an attempt to finally clear his name. Cole was convicted of a rape in 1985, but later excluded by DNA testing. He died in 1999 of an asthma attack, still in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

And, finally, this from the New Jersey News:

Defendants win the right to change their minds; Court decides it can be legitimate grounds for withdrawing a guilty plea

Changing your mind can be a valid reason for seeking to retract a guilty plea if other facts in the case support the request, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

The justices said trial judges need to consider any plausible claim of innocence and the "nature and strength" of the person's reasons for wanting to retract the plea.

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