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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Trap

A question that I get a lot is, why hasn’t Coy had a retrial yet? Either from fans who want to know what’s taking so long, or from opponents who assert that, if Coy were innocent, he would have seen justice by now. Well, the Washington Post has a great article by Radley Balko about the unclear laws and difficulties prisoners face when trying to appeal based on the testimony of ‘experts’ revealed to be unreliable.

            In order to appeal, Coy would need new evidence; evidence that any expert who testified against him is no longer a credible witness may be enough, but what would constitute evidence of that? He would have to prove that the evidence was either new, or unavailable during his trial; that it would have substantially changed the outcome of the trial, and he would have to appeal within a year of it becoming when it was discovered.

            The article points out that that evidence of this kind is notoriously slippery; he uses some examples of courts simultaneously upholding an expert as credible in cases they are defending, while attempting to discredit the same expert when he testifies for the defense.

            The article describes the situation in much greater detail, and if you’re interested in how the appeals system works it’s a great read. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for it. It seems like Oncken’s Brady violation in the caseof Glen Kahlden, or the questionable work by the CAC’s Colleen Taft 
would be enough to at least re-open the investigation. However, with the laws currently in place, it doesn’t look like they are.
It's a depressing note to end on, but keep in mind that Judge Ellis, the same one who presided over COy's trial, has requested a new trial for a defendant in the past, and Lisa Andrews, one of Coy's prosecutors, was responsible for Oncken getting called out on the Brady violation. There is always hope.