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Court of appeals rejects bid for new trial based on new evidence, IAC

State v. Matthew Ray Taylor, 2016AP682-CR, District 1, 6/27/17 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Taylor argues he should get a new trial based on newly discovered evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel. The court of appeals rejects his claims.

Contreres, Bachman, and McClendon met up with two men to try to buy some drugs. After a dispute about payment, one of the drug sellers pulled out a gun and began shooting, killing Contreras and wounding Bachman. Bachman pulled out his gun and shot, too. Police eventually found Taylor in a nearby home with a bullet wound to his leg; they also found clothing with his blood on it in the basement, and the clothing matched what the shooter was described to be wearing. Further investigation led police to Singleton, who said he witnessed the incident, helped Taylor to get away from the scene after he was shot by taking him to a nearby residence, and disposed of Taylor’s gun. (¶¶4-11).

Taylor’s newly discovered evidence consists of affidavits from two new witnesses. One was at the residence Taylor and Singleton went to after the incident; he was too frightened to come forward at trial, and would say Singleton admitted being the shooter. This is not newly discovered because Taylor was aware of his potential testimony at the time of his trial and his statement doesn’t show a reasonable probability the result of the trial would have been different. (¶¶17-19). The second witness avers that Singleton essentially confessed to him that he was the shooter; this affidavit is deemed to be speculative and based on hearsay and so doesn’t constitute new evidence. (¶¶20-22).

Taylor’s ineffective claims fare no better. Trial counsel’s failure to call Singleton and others at the residence Taylor went to after the shooting wasn’t deficient, as their evidence would not have helped Taylor. (¶¶28-34). And trial counsel’s failure to challenge the out-of-court identification of Taylor by Bachman and McClendon wasn’t prejudicial because, considered as a whole, the identification procedure wasn’t impermissibly suggestive. (¶¶35-53).

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