Court of Appeals Reverses Conviction in Murder Case
The defendant was convicted of murder for a shooting in Brooklyn. Years after the verdict, pursuant to a FOIL request, the prosecutor sent defense counsel a copy of a surveillance video, and the defendant subsequently filed a C.P.L. 440.10 motion to vacate his conviction based on a Brady violation. The motion was denied, and the Second Department affirmed the defendant's conviction.
A unanimous Court of Appeals reversed. The Court held that the People had violated their constitutional obligation to disclose the video, which would have set the scene of the murder, identified other potential witnesses, served to impeach eyewitness testimony, and provided a basis for an argument that other suspects might have been involved in the shooting. The Court further explained that the prosecutor’s summation remarks denying the existence of a video compounded the prejudice to the defendant. The Court held that the "reasonable probability" standard applied, since the defense did not specifically request the information, and that this standard had been met. The defendant was thus entitled to a new trial.
Leila Hull briefed and argued the case in the Court of Appeals.