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March 01, 2013

Government Admits Error and Agrees to Life Sentence for David Jackson

Volunteer counsel from O'Melveny & Myers LLP, along with federal defenders at the Federal Capital Habeas Project, recently succeeded in vacating the death sentence of their client, David Lee Jackson, after the federal government admitted to withholding evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland. Mr. Jackson was sentenced to death for killing another prisoner during a fight while he was incarcerated in Texas. Mr. Jackson has maintained that he was attacked by the prisoner and was defending himself.

Mr. Jackson's post-conviction team discovered that the government had failed to disclose Bureau of Prison records diagnosing Mr. Jackson with paranoid schizophrenia. The team also developed evidence that Mr. Jackson was intellectually disabled. The court found that the mental health evidence should have been disclosed to defense counsel at trial. In exchange for the government's confession of error, Mr. Jackson agreed to accept a new sentence of life in prison and forgo pursuing any additional post-conviction claims. This is the first time that the government has ever settled a federal death penalty case in habeas proceedings.

Congratulations to the O'Melveny team, including attorneys Jimmy Lohman and Christopher Craig, and Morris Moon and Miriam Gohara at the Federal Capital Habeas Project on this outstanding victory!