Archive | right to present a defense; Rule 403

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Second Circuit Grants Habeas Relief in State Murder Case Based on Right to Present a Complete Defense

In Scrimo v. Lee, No. 17-3434 (2d Cir. Aug. 20, 2019), the Second Circuit ordered the grant of a writ of habeas corpus, undoing the defendant’s 2002 second-degree murder conviction.

Defendant Paul Scrimo was convicted of second-degree murder following trial in New York state court and sentenced to 25 years to life. Briefly, the defendant was charged with strangling a woman in her apartment early in the morning, after drinking with her and a man named John Kane at various bars. The chief evidence against the defendant was the testimony of John Kane. Kane admitted that he was with the victim and the defendant on the night of the murder, and in the victim’s apartment during the crime. Kane claimed that he saw the defendant strangle the victim after she insulted him.

There was little to corroborate Kane’s account of the murder and, in fact, other evidence pointed to …

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Categories: cumulative impact, evidence, harmless error, right to present a defense; Rule 403, state

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Monday, October 8th, 2012

White Out

United States v. White, No. 11-772-cr (2d Cir. August 30, 2012) (Jacobs, Calabresi, Pooler, CJJ)

Here, a divided circuit panel concluded that two evidentiary errors prejudiced the outcome of Lance White’s felon-in-possession trial. The court vacated the conviction and remanded the case for a new trial.

1. Erroneous Preclusion of Others Arrests and Charging Decisions

The case involved the stop of a minivan that contained White and four women. Officers found three firearms, one supposedly in White’s right front pocket. Two others were recovered from a purse belonging to one of the women, Jennings. Initially, all five individuals were charged in state court with possessing all three guns. Eventually the state dropped all charges against three of the women. For Jennings, the state pursued charges only for the guns in her purse. Over White’s objection, the district court granted the government’s motion to preclude White from introducing evidence of …

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Categories: credibility, right to present a defense; Rule 403, Uncategorized

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