December 01, 2016

Lack of Evidence in Alabama Case Leads to Dismissal of Indictment

A team of volunteer lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher won release and dismissal of the indictment for their client George Martin. Mr. Martin, a former state trooper in Mobile, served 15 years on death row in Alabama. His wife was found dead inside of her burning Ford Escort in Mobile in 1995. Mr. Martin was convicted in 2000, based largely on the testimony of a witness who claimed to have seen a state trooper near where the burning car was found. Although the jury recommended life in prison, the judge sentenced Mr. Martin to death.

Gibson Dunn joined Mr. Martin’s team after being recruited by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery. After years of research, the Gibson Dunn team filed a petition for post-conviction relief based on claims of prosecutorial misconduct. They uncovered thousands of pages of evidence in the State’s files that were not disclosed to defense counsel, including evidence showing that the State’s key witness had identified a different state trooper in a photo lineup and information pointing to alternate suspects. After a 2012 evidentiary hearing, Mobile Circuit Judge Robert Smith granted a new trial for Mr. Martin, a ruling affirmed by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in December 2014. In March of this year, Judge Smith ruled that Alabama had previously failed to provide Mr. Martin with a fair trial and would be unable to do so now due to the passage of time. He dismissed the indictment with prejudice.