NWR: discussion for our PW attorneys

Ladies,


I am an attorney in Florida--just so you know where I'm coming from.  I like to watch law shows on tv like law and order, though I sometimes disagree with what they say is the law, etc.  Last night, my husband and I watched Law and Order SVU.  I was very disturbed by the representation made to the American public by the very end of the show:


A man was in prison for a rape that the cops found out was committed by another.  The real perpetrator was caught and confessed on tape--with his lawyer present (no constitutional issues).  The real perpetrator then killed himself.  The ADA on the show stated that nothing could be done for the innocent man who was sitting in prison because no court would accept the hearsay tape as proof that the innocent man did not rape the girl.  The rules of evidence would basically make the innocent man serve another 15 years in prison.


I understand that sometimes innocents are put in jail wrongly.  What bothered me was the representation that nothing could be done to spring the innocent man.  That is not the case in Florida as we have postconviction remedies to correct illegal or incorrect sentences. 


What about in your state?  What would be the outcome of the above scenario?  Would the innocent man really serve another 15 years in prison????


TGD

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:06 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

(25) Comments

JVilleBride2010
4
03/20/2010
JVilleBride2010

JVilleBride2010

  • 4
  • 13
  • 2.92k
108
Followers
111
Following

JVilleBride2010

Im not an attorney, but that's messed the hell up

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:11 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

Agreed, JVille.  That's why I was bothered.  Certainly, that's not the case in any state in the USA. 

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:14 am
VegasBride2010
5
10/16/2010
VegasBride2010

VegasBride2010

  • 5
  • 15
  • 6.48k
423
Followers
427
Following

VegasBride2010

Wow... Thankfully thats just a tv show;


and it wouldn't make for good tv if the man was released....


in real life Im sure it would be handled differently.. Or so i hope..

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:16 am
xxashleyxx007
10
10/15/2012
xxashleyxx007

xxashleyxx007

  • 10
  • 16
  • 10.9k
573
Followers
575
Following

xxashleyxx007

Wow, that makes me sick to my stomach. TV shows always push limits though and do scenarios that wouldn't happen in the place where they are supposed to take place. I don't know why they feel like they have to be so extreme... ratings I suppose. I'm not a lawyer so sorry for butting in lol. I am very very passionate about the law and that so I feel you on this one.

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:16 am
m.h.1.23
10
01/23/2010
m.h.1.23

m.h.1.23

  • 10
  • 13
  • 10.1k
135
Followers
138
Following

m.h.1.23

I actually think that this is the case in many states. My crim pro professor has been working hard for several years to try to get a case to the USSC to get this matter resolved, especially in death penalty cases and life in prison.  In many instances, there is no way to introduce new evidence into the record, as appeals are based on what was presented at trial.

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:20 am
megsterpie
3
05/15/2010
megsterpie

megsterpie

  • 3
  • 11
  • 1.5k
152
Followers
156
Following

megsterpie

wow that is really sad. I hope that is not what happens in real life....

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:21 am
CalJax
3
05/02/2009
CalJax

CalJax

  • 3
  • 12
  • 1.73k
115
Followers
119
Following

CalJax

Yeah, my husband hates that show. He is a criminal attorney in FL as well and he tells me every trial he has to tell the jurors - "this is not Law and Order or CSI - that is fake". Was there not DNA evidence in that case?

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:24 am
JVilleBride2010
4
03/20/2010
JVilleBride2010

JVilleBride2010

  • 4
  • 13
  • 2.92k
108
Followers
111
Following

JVilleBride2010

You know what's bad, a lot of those cases are based on real events even though they say they arent.  Well Law and Order I mean.

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:28 am
Lina910
2
10/02/2009
Lina910

Lina910

  • 2
  • 8
  • 281
47
Followers
51
Following

Lina910

I do Social Security law so this is totally out of my area but I imagine the ACLU, the Innocence Project, and other such groups would be all over that...

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:32 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

I would imagine, also, that a petition for writ of habeas corpus could be filed with the Federal Courts, although, I do not know federal law at all, so I am not sure. 

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:52 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

Ashley, everyone is welcome to the discussion.  I didn't mean to exclude ppl by the title, just to get the attorneys to "come in."

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:53 am
m.h.1.23
10
01/23/2010
m.h.1.23

m.h.1.23

  • 10
  • 13
  • 10.1k
135
Followers
138
Following

m.h.1.23

(I didn't watch the show, so I don't know what the deal was with that case, but...) I beleive the difficulty with a habeas petition is that the basis for a habeas claim is that the defendant's constitutional rights were violated. In a case where the defendant was convicted based on evidence available at the time, and where there was no bad faith on the part of the prosecution, and where all discovery rules were complied with- then the trial and conviction were not a violation of rights, and it is very diffiult to introduce the new evidence in a jurisdiction that does not have postconviction remedies. Apparently, many states and the federal system (I beleive), do not have very liberal post-conviction remedies.


I am no expert on this, but like I said, my professor has devouted several years to this very topic, and he spoke of it very frequently- and this is pretty much all I remember from his ramblings :)

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 4:58 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

M.H.  his ramblings--cute.  It's so true; sometimes law profs get off on their own bunny trails and teach something other than the material for the day!  My evidence professor was terrible at that.  I learned a ton from him, but I learned the rules of evidence myself!  :)

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:01 am
m.h.1.23
10
01/23/2010
m.h.1.23

m.h.1.23

  • 10
  • 13
  • 10.1k
135
Followers
138
Following

m.h.1.23

hahaha, yep, they certainly like to talk about themselves!


you are a in FL? where did you go to law school?

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:02 am
Ghana_Bride
4
10/10/2009
Ghana_Bride

Ghana_Bride

  • 4
  • 15
  • 4.24k
262
Followers
265
Following

Ghana_Bride

I am not an attorney but I watched the SVU show yesterday.  How do you convict a man of rape with just a witness statement, the traumatized victim identifying the wrong perp and no forensic evidence to link the man to the crime?  Also even if the confessed killer is dead, we still have the the witness who identified the wrong guy. Cant he get a new trial based on eyewitness recanting her statement OR introducing the new evidence (aka the former prostitute turned court sternographer who is a potential key withness) that might shed more light on the case?


if you ask me I think that part of the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:05 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

I went to Liberty Law in Lynchburg VA.  http://www.liberty.edu/academics/law/index.cfm


I am a FL girl, though, and came home to take the bar.

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:07 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

Ghana,


That's what I'm saying.  I don't think it's as broken as was portrayed.  I think that a lot of Americans are probably thinking that our system is way worse than it really is.  That's why I wanted to hear from other attorneys about their state systems.  If that guy were in FL, I am 99% sure he'd be out in no time.  (of course, it's not real, but you know what I mean).

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:09 am
mscin
4
05/22/2010
mscin

mscin

  • 4
  • 12
  • 2.05k
185
Followers
189
Following

mscin

i'm not an attorney or anything but wouldn't that tape be considered evidence?  wouldn't that cause a reasonable doubt?

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:09 am
m.h.1.23
10
01/23/2010
m.h.1.23

m.h.1.23

  • 10
  • 13
  • 10.1k
135
Followers
138
Following

m.h.1.23

You do not need forensic evidence to convict a person. In most cases there is no forensic evidence. Although eyewitness testimony is proven extremely unreliable, it is the basis for very many convictions. The jury is given the task to decide whether or not it is reliable- and they generally find the victim (or any eyewitness for that matter) reliable. the notion that many or most cases deal with forensics and DNA is based purely on media, and not at all in the real system. It is very expensive to retrieve, test, and analyze forensics. If they can get a conviction without it, they generally don't use it.


The reasonable doubt standard applies in trial- it means that the jury beleives beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. My understanding here is that the confession of the real perpetrator was after trial. Therefore, when the jury looked at the evidence at trial, they beleived he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. After he is convicted, he has to rely on either mistakes made at trial or any post-conviction remedies available in his jurisdiction.

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:16 am
tgdtobe
4
11/07/2009
tgdtobe

tgdtobe

  • 4
  • 8
  • 2.33k
43
Followers
47
Following

tgdtobe

Good explanation, M.H.  (My specialty is postconviction remedies, btw).

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 5:47 am
« 1

Have a question? Contact Support
Top Contributors this Week
LauraSweet
22 posts
Miss_M_to_Mrs_W
22 posts
Kuppy13
21 posts
Melo819
21 posts
NicholeB
20 posts
Canooknic
19 posts