The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in Luong v. Alabama is available in Adobe .pdf format.
"Lam Luong Conviction Thrown Out In 2008 Ala. Bridge Death," is the AP report, via Huffington Post.
An Alabama appeals court has thrown out the 2009 conviction and death sentence of a man tried for killing four small children by tossing them off a coastal bridge, ruling that publicity surrounding the case made it impossible for the suspect to have a fair trial in Mobile where the crime occurred.
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a new trial for Lam Luong, whose wife testified he laughed when he told her their children – whose ages ranged from 3 years to just 4 months – would never be found. Alabama's attorney general could appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.
The case of Luong, a Vietnamese immigrant and part-time shrimp boat worker, took odd twists that made headlines right up to the start of his trial. Days before jury selection, Luong said he wanted to plead guilty but he ended up withdrawing that decision. The trial judge denied requests by Luong's defense lawyers to move the trial outside of Mobile County.
"It is clear that publicity surrounding the murders completely saturated the Mobile community in 2008. A great deal of that publicity was prejudicial," the appeals court said in its ruling Friday. "... Luong was denied his constitutional right to an impartial jury. Therefore, we must reverse Luong's convictions and sentence of death and remand this case for a new trial."