Thursday, August 13, 2009

In the News--Recantation

When a criminal informant recants his testimony after a defendant has already been convicted, it is typically very difficult for that defendant to get a new trial. This happens more often than you might think--informants change their stories all the time, but the rules of criminal procedure and habeas corpus make it very hard to upset the original conviction. Today's New York Times reports on Fernando Bermudez, a man who tried 11 times to get his 1992 murder conviction overturned after the main witness recanted. A new judge has finally held that he might be entitled to a new trial. Mr. Bermudez also has the good fortune to be represented by my exceptionally skilled former colleague Barry Pollack, partner at Miller Chevalier.