Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Valdovinos v. McGrath, No. 08-15918 (3-10-10) (B. Fletcher with Kleinfeld and Duffy, D.J.). The petitioner was convicted of first-degree murder for a shooting outside of a San Jose nightclub. Several witnesses identified the petitioner as the shooter. Their identifications had inconsistences as to clothes and build. At trial, it was revealed that the witnesses had been presented with a photo line-up of the petitioner, one had failed to identify him, and the other expressed doubts. Later, it also came to light that prosecutors had an anonymous letter which tied the victim into a drug debt, and there was evidence of cocaine baggies found close by. The prosecutor also had a statement that one of the witnesses interviewed admitted he lied to the police to cover for himself. The 9th found that these were Brady violations, and that they were prejudicial. As the opinion concludes: "A pattern of non-disclosure permeated the proceedings against [petitioner]." The prosecution deprived petitioner of due process.


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