December 01, 2009

Law Firm Successes

Alfredo Prieto

Fish & Richardson Wins New Sentencing Hearing for Alfredo Prieto

On September 18, 2009, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of Alfredo R. Prieto.  The court determined that a flawed verdict form did not provide jurors the choice of sending Mr. Prieto to prison for life.  Mr. Prieto was convicted of murder in 1988.  A new jury will decide whether Mr. Prieto will remain on Death Row or whether he can serve life without a chance of parole.  Congratulations to the team at Fish & Richardson, including Michael Siem, Erin Hickey, Noah Graubert, and Michael Hilgers, and defenders Peter D. Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro, for their efforts.

Michael Toney

O’Melveny & Myers Secures Release of Michael Toney

On September 2, 2009, the Texas Attorney General’s Office agreed to release Michael Toney, nine months after his conviction and death sentence were overturned.  Last December, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Mr. Toney’s conviction after the District Attorney’s Office acknowledged that prosecutors had withheld substantial material evidence from Mr. Toney’s defense counsel. 

Mr. Toney was convicted of a 1985 briefcase bombing that killed three people in a mobile home.  His trial occurred in 1999, 14 years after the bombing.  No physical evidence tied Mr. Toney to the crime, and statements from the two witnesses were found to be inconsistent.  Mr. Toney maintained his innocence throughout the case.  The Project congratulates the team from O’Melveny & Myers LLP in San Francisco, along with David Dow and Jared Tyler of the Texas Defender Service, on their success and thanks them for their work to secure justice for Mr. Toney.

UPDATE:  Mr. Toney died in a car accident on October 6, 2009.

Crosley Green

Crowell & Moring Wins Reduced Sentence for Crosley Green

On August 31, 2009, Eighteenth Circuit Court Judge Bruce Jacobson, recently elevated to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, reduced Crosley Green’s sentence by ten years at Mr. Green’s re-sentencing hearing in Viera, Florida.  Late last year, the Florida Supreme Court vacated Mr. Green’s death sentence and ordered a new sentencing hearing.  In 1990, Mr. Green was convicted of kidnapping and killing Chip Flynn of Titusville, Florida.  Numerous witnesses have since recanted their testimony and DNA evidence has proven inconclusive.  The Project congratulates the team from Crowell & Moring LLP, including Keith Harrison, Robert Rhoad, and Stacie Lieberman, for their dedication to Mr. Green and his case.

Deryl Madison

Mayer Brown Secures Withdrawal of Death Sentence for Deryl Madison

On July 24, 2009, volunteer attorneys at Mayer Brown LLP secured a withdrawal of the death sentence for longstanding client Deryl Madison in exchange for a sentence of life without parole.  Mr. Madison was found guilty of capital murder on June 19, 1989.  When Mayer Brown took the case in 2001, Mr. Madison faced an execution date in just three weeks.  The team first obtained a stay of execution and then an order tolling the expired time limits applicable for bringing a habeas corpus petition under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Subsequently, US District Judge Nancy Atlas of the Southern District of Texas (Houston) granted habeas corpus relief based on the Supreme Court’s decisions in Penry and Tennard.  The team ultimately reached an agreement with the Harris County District Attorney’s office to terminate the threat of execution.  In support of its representation, Mayer Brown also filed a series of amicus briefs on issues central to Mr. Madison’s defense in the United States Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Congratulations to the Mayer Brown team.