Archive | state

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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Saturday, October 13th, 2007

Steal This Footnote

United States v. Johnson, No. 05-3811-cr (2d Cir. October 10, 2007) (Meskill, Cabranes, Wesley, CJJ)

This is pretty much a case about nothing. The only real nugget is in footnote 4.

Johnson appealed his 120-month gun sentence – the statutory maximum – on several grounds. As is often true, his case had begun in state court, but was later transferred to federal court. Johnson pointed out that had the state prosecution gone forward, he could not have received more than seven years’ imprisonment. On appeal he argued that the district court was required to sentence him so as to take into account (1) the disparity between his sentence and his co-defendant’s, a claim that the court has already rejected, and (2) the disparity between his federal sentence and the sentence he would have received in the state court.

The court rejected this second claim as well, holding that a district …

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Categories: disparity, sentence, state, Uncategorized

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