Turner et al. v. United States Overton, Russell L. v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: December 14, 2016
  • Case #: 15-1503, 15-1504
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 116 A.3d 894 (D.C. 2015), 116 A.3d 894 (D.C. 2015)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether Brady v. Maryland requires that the Petitioners' convictions be set aside?

Catherine Fuller was robbed, sodomized, and murdered in 1984 in an alley in a Washington D.C. neighborhood. The Petitioners were part of a group that was prosecuted for the crime. Petitioners later discovered that during the proceedings that ultimately resulted in their conviction, the prosecution withheld large amounts of evidence that favored Petitioners position, including an eyewitness identification of a possible perpetrator, James McMillan. Some time after the criminal proceeding concluded, it was discovered that James McMillan was arrested for sodomizing and murdering a woman in the same neighborhood. In 2010 Petitioners moved to have their convictions vacated. The Superior Court denied the motion and the D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court after determining that the recanting by Petitioners were not credible and that the extraordinarily similar sodomy-murder committed by James McMillan was not material for the Brady v. Maryland analysis that examines the materiality of suppressed evidence. This decision by the Court of Appeals widened the divide of case law dealing with whether evidence discovered after a trial may be considered when analyzing the materiality of suppressed evidence. Notwithstanding the materiality of James McMillan's subsequent crime, Petitioners argue that the egregious nature and amount of exculpatory evidence suppressed by the prosecution merits vacation of their convictions under Brady v. Maryland. 

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