Thursday, September 8, 2011
9th Circuit reverses death penalty because of lying informant
Yesterday in Sivak v. Hardison, the Ninth Circuit reversed yet another death sentence based on a lying jailhouse informant and the "State's knowing presentation of perjured inmate testimony." See also this post regarding Maxwell v. Roe. In Sivak, the prosecution used two jailhouse informants--Duane Grierson who described himself as a "chronic liar," and Jimmy Leytham, who falsely testified that he did not expect any rewards for his testimony. The Ninth Circuit concluded that these two unreliable witnesses provided the only direct evidence of Sivak's personal participation in the homicide and that therefore his capital sentencing violated due process.