(Austin, Texas) Prosecutors at Rodney Reed’s 1998 trial illegally hid statements from Stacey Stites’s co-workers displaying that Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites knew one another and had been romantically concerned, based on a Request for Grant of Utility for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed on the twenty first Judicial District Court docket in Bastrop County, Texas and the Texas Court docket of Felony Appeals early this morning. Mr. Reed’s Utility additionally states that the State illegally suppressed statements from Ms. Stites’s neighbors about loud home violence arguments between Ms. Stites and her fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, a police officer who was the prime suspect in Ms. Stites’s homicide for practically a 12 months.
Mr. Reed’s Request for Grant of Utility for Writ of Habeas Corpus will be seen right here: https://tinyurl.com/49r7e7mx
Beneath the U.S. Supreme Court docket case Brady vs. Maryland (1963), the State had an affirmative responsibility to show over all proof that was favorable to Mr. Reed’s protection. As an alternative, the State hid the proof pointing to Mr. Reed’s innocence for greater than 20 years.
“The prosecution’s concealment of statements from Stacey Stites’s co-workers and neighbors is a textbook instance of a Brady violation. The constitutional violation is as crystal clear because the treatment: Rodney Reed’s conviction and demise sentence should be overturned,” stated Jane Pucher, Senior Workers Legal professional on the Innocence Mission, and one in every of Mr. Reed’s attorneys.
“The constitutional violation is as crystal clear because the treatment: Rodney Reed’s conviction and demise sentence should be overturned.”
At trial, prosecutors repeatedly informed Mr. Reed’s jury — falsely — that investigators “talked to all these individuals, and never one in every of them … ever stated she was related to that defendant. Ever. They weren’t relationship based on anybody, there weren’t mates, they weren’t associates.”
The Utility states that the “withheld data is essential as a result of it demonstrates that the important thing factual principle of the State’s capital homicide case in opposition to Mr. Reed – that he needed to have kidnapped Ms. Stites as a result of the 2 had been strangers – was false.” (Utility at p. 2.)
Lower than a month earlier than Mr. Reed’s July, 2021 evidentiary listening to on a separate petition nonetheless pending earlier than the CCA, the State “found” exculpatory proof revealing that earlier than trial a minimum of three of Ms. Stites’s co-workers gave statements to legislation enforcement and the prosecution that Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites knew one another and had been, in Ms. Stites’s personal phrases, “good mates.” (App. at pp. 1-2.) The Utility states: “[H]advert the Court docket [of Criminal Appeals] not remanded Mr. Reed’s prior Brady, false testimony and precise innocence claims for a dedication on the deserves, this data would have remained hidden without end.” (App. at p. 3.)
On June 25, 2021, the State disclosed for the primary time to Mr. Reed’s attorneys that Suzan Hugen, a pal and co-worker of Ms. Stites, gave an announcement to police that she noticed Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites on the H.E.B. the place the ladies labored and she or he launched Mr. Reed to Ms. Hugen as a “good or shut pal.” Ms. Hugen informed police that Ms. Stites and Mr. Reed appeared “pleasant, laughing, and flirting.” Ms. Hugen additionally informed police that she believed that Mr. Fennell was bodily abusive towards Ms. Stites. (App. at pp. 17-19.)
Two different H.E.B. co-workers of Ms. Stites additionally informed police that Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites knew one another. These pre-trial interviews weren’t disclosed to Mr. Reed’s attorneys for 23 years, till the eve of the July, 2021 evidentiary listening to. (App. at pp. 19-21.)
As well as, after Ms. Stites’s homicide, her downstairs neighbor, William Sappington, reported violent home arguments between Ms. Stites and Mr. Fennell to a police officer and a District Legal professional in neighboring Lee County, Ted Weems. Though then-District Legal professional Weems had an affirmative responsibility underneath Brady v. Maryland to show this data over to Mr. Reed’s attorneys, he — like different police and prosecutors — didn’t achieve this. (App. at pp. 22-23.)
The Utility additional states that the State sponsored false forensic testimony at Mr. Reed’s trial, which it used to argue that Mr. Reed’s protection, that he and Ms. Stites had consensual intercourse a couple of days previous to her demise, was scientifically inconceivable. The State’s personal consultants conceded on the July, 2021 evidentiary listening to that the central factors of the State’s forensic case had been false. (App. at pp. 33, 54-55.)
An all-white jury convicted Mr. Reed, a Black man, of the homicide of Ms. Stites, a white lady. Mr. Fennell, Ms. Stites’s fiancé, was the prime suspect, however police turned their consideration to Mr. Reed when DNA recovered from Ms. Stites matched Mr. Reed, with whom Ms. Stites was having a relationship. Mr. Reed was scheduled for execution on November 20, 2019, however the Texas Court docket of Felony Appeals stayed his execution to permit the courts to contemplate new proof of his innocence. At a two week evidentiary listening to in July, 2021, Mr. Reed demonstrated that he didn’t kidnap, sexually assault, or homicide Ms. Stites and that no cheap jury would now convict him. Whereas a call on that listening to continues to be pending earlier than the CCA, this new writ exhibits that Mr. Reed’s conviction violates probably the most central tenets of our Structure and can’t stand.