Supreme Court weighs CSI’s impact on effective aid claims

The Maryland Court of Appeals on Monday challenged whether defense attorneys rendered ineffective assistance by not objecting to judges telling potential or current jurors that prosecutors did not need to provide scientific evidence to establish guilt in the years before the Supreme Court ruling first made such comments. Generally in 2010.

Even prior to this decision, the defense attorney was bound to acknowledge that the judge’s comments unfairly altered the trial in favor of the prosecution by excusing the jurors in the jury’s mind from the absence of forensic evidence, attorney Alison Prasow told the Supreme Court in lobbying first-degree convicts. The resume of the killer Antonio McGee.

“Mr. Prasow, an assistant public defender in Maryland, said McGee simply required this court to acknowledge that a reasonably competent attorney would have been aware of previous published decisions and would have recognized that (fair trial) principles apply to the situation before him.” “The letter telling a jury that it doesn’t have to take into account scientific evidence necessarily invades the jury’s fact-finding ability, and is necessarily an impermissible comment on the evidence because it tells the jury ‘Hey, don’t think about this’ and denies the defense’s argument to the contrary. So.”

Confronting Brasseau, Maryland Assistant Attorney General Virginia Hofermel told the court that the “prevailing professional standards” prior to the 2010 ruling were that defense attorneys were under no obligation and did not have sufficient notice to object to judicial comments about a lack of forensic evidence.

The 2010 court decision and subsequent rulings came in response to trial judges instructing jurors in the early 2000s that forensic evidence was not required for a conviction because they believed that—by watching television crime plays—they had grown to expect the state to prove its case. with DNA and rules against the prosecution if it does not provide forensic evidence.

This expectation of jurors has been dubbed the “CSI effect” in honor of the popular program “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which featured criminal investigators.

in Charles vs Maryland, the Court of Appeals ruled in 2010 that a judge corrupted a jury by asking potential jurors during the course of the dialogue whether they could still convict someone in the absence of forensic evidence. The following year, the court ruled in two cases – Stabb v. Maryland And the Atkins vs Maryland – That judges instructed the jury to ignore the lack of DNA evidence unfairly undermined the main defense arguments.

In McGee’s appeal, Prasow said that the conviction for murder occurred before Charles However, the decision must be invalidated because the trial judge asked potential jurors if they could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt without forensic evidence placing him at the crime scene. Prasow added that McGee’s trial attorney was ineffective by not contesting the judge’s question, which was akin to a question deemed inappropriate by the Supreme Court. Charles.

But Hovermell urged the Court of Appeals to uphold McGee’s conviction, saying his attorney was under no obligation in 2007 to challenge the judge’s efforts to counter the impact of the SSI, which the Supreme Court did not recognize until 2010.

“There was nothing in that shot in time that would indicate (the defense attorney) that an objection to this serious question was necessary or appropriate,” Hofermel said. “The body of laws having to do with the impact of CSI did not exist in Maryland.”

In an apparent agreement, Judge Jonathan Beran told Prasow that lawyers had no reason to suspect that the judge’s comments intended to quell CSI’s influence were inappropriate until a brilliant lawyer pressed this argument.

“There will always be that first person who, when we look back, will say, ‘Oh my God, this attorney really had a vision, and he was the first person to put it forward,’” Beran said. That they were deficient under the constitution?”

Prasow agreed that “there will always be that first lawyer.”

“But I think the first one is an indication that other lawyers should have also objected,” Prasow said. “A reasonably competent attorney is familiar with case law and is expected to apply that law not only to cases directly dealt with but to similar cases within its scope.”

McGee was charged on March 17, 2007 with shooting Keith Dreher outside a Prince George’s County pizzeria.

Prior to McGee’s trial, Prince County Circuit Judge George James J. Convince you of the guilt of the accused? In other words, do you think the state should do this in all cases? “

The trial attorney did not object, and Prasow said the failure decimated McGee’s defense by justifying the prosecution’s lack of forensic evidence in a case based largely on the testimony of an eyewitness who identified McGee in a photo set but later retracted his identity.

McGee was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2008.

He moved for relief after a conviction in 2014 based on Supreme Court rulings in CharlesAnd the Atkins And the stab.

Prince County Circuit Judge George Beverly J. Woodard ruled for Mackey and on June 11, 2020, ordered a new trial. But the special appeals court overturned Woodard’s decision in an unreported opinion last November, prompting McGee to seek review by the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal is expected to issue its decision by August 31 in the case, Antonio McGee vs MarylandIssue 64, Semester September 2021.

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