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United States v. MacDonald
Amicus curiae brief of the Innocence Project, the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, the New England Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of petitioner-appellant Jeffrey R. MacDonald.
Argument: The district court erred when it (1) ignored uncontroverted evidence that the trial AUSA intimidated a defense witness and lied about it to the trial judge, and (2) holding that additional prefiling authorization was required to allow the petitioner to introduce exculpatory DNA evidence. The evidence as a whole establishes that no reasonable fact finder would have found him guilty under 28 U.S.C. §2244(b)(2)(B)(ii) or any other standard.
Russo v. United States
Brief of the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: It is crucial that avenues remain open to assert claims based on newly discovered evidence of innocence. Innocent convicts face enormous challenges in uncovering and litigating new evidence of innocence. The Section 2255 Savings Clause requires meaningfully adequate consideration of newly discovered evidence of innocence. The Court should eliminate its requirement that motions for authorization to file successive habeas petitions be limited to the Court's pre-printed form.
In Re the Personal Restraint of Heidi Charlene Fero
Amicus Brief of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).
Argument: A miscarriage of justice is not always evident until years later. DNA exonerations have exposed that faulty science often leads to wrongful convictions. Newly discovered evidence constitutes a claim for relief and an exception to the time bar. Advances in science can constitute newly discovered evidence. Due diligence should not require premature filing. Both the rule of lenity and the constitutional avoidance doctrine mandate the statutory construction urged by Ms. Fero.