Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flores v. State Post Conviction Review Opinion Imminent

We're advised that the post conviction review appeal opinion in the case of David Flores is due out tomorrow, the 12th of April 2011, from the Iowa Court of Appeals, in the review of Judge Nickerson's opinion which granted Flores a new trial.

I've not been able to read Nickerson's opinion but I'm quite sure that the issue is going to be about Brady evidence and whether John Wellman knew or should have known about the interview held in the jail that seemed to implicate Rafael Robinson as the shooter.

There are some interesting wrinkles to this. Brady v. Maryland requires that prosecutors turn over to the defendant or counsel any and all evidence in their possession relevant to the prosecution at bar.

The question then becomes, at what point is the duty of the prosecutor at an end? Must he go to the ends of the earth, to the heavens above, and to the depths below in a quixotic search for things that may or may not pertain?

The evidence of the jail interview is relevant, all right, but I think the argument that it is relevant only to the still unsolved murder of Robinson is significant. In any event, the notion that Wellman did not know about this report would leave three year old toddlers shaking their little heads in dismay. An attorney for one of the codefendants who'd already been convicted knew about it and was in the same courtroom at the same time as Wellman.

Judge Nickerson found the testimony of a witness, a female companion of Robinson, credible as well as newly discovered evidence-which is also stunning when you consider that this woman, a companion of one of the chieftains in the then existing war between the Iowa Crips and Bloods franchises claimed not to have heard of David Flores and his conviction until 11 or so years had past.

And there's the cartridge cases in the intersection and in the Flores home. And there's the stunning revelations of Flores' then girlfriend to her mother and auntie, and her subsequent time in jail for contempt.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

If nothing else, the appeal meant that Flores served another year plus in prison.

It should be interesting-but will justice be done? Stay tuned.


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