The U.S. District Court Memorandum in Dennis v. Wetzel is available in Adobe .pdf format.
The BLT - Blog of Legal Times - posts, "‘Shaky’ Eyewitness Identification Dooms Murder Conviction,"
by Matthew Huisman.
A Pennsylvania federal judge has vacated the murder conviction of a man who’s spent more than 20 years on death row, saying the government built the case around “shaky” eyewitness identification and withheld evidence.
The prisoner, James Dennis, was represented by a team of lawyers from Arnold & Porter, which provided pro bono service in the long fight to exonerate Dennis.
"The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has committed a grave miscarriage of justice in convicting Dennis and sentencing him to die for this crime," Judge Anita Brody of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania wrote.
In 1999, a team from Arnold & Porter—counsels Ryan Guilds and Rebecca Gordon, staff attorneys Amy Rohe and Meghan Martin, associate Ingrid Epperly and partner James Cooper—took Dennis' state habeas appeal as a pro bono case.
"Most of us were first years when we took the case back in 1999," Guild said. The Arnold & Porter attorneys got new discovery and looked into the original charges. In all, they found evidence of inadequate representation by trial counsel and alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
“It's truly overwhelming for the lawyers who have been on this case and it has served as the backbone for our pro bono work,” Guild said. He added that the team would continue to represent Dennis and encouraged young lawyers to take pro bono cases like Dennis’.
Earlier coverage of Jimmy Dennis' case begins at the link.