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Recantation evidence didn’t satisfy newly-discovered evidence test

State v. Landris T. Jines, 2014AP132, District 1, 9/30/14 (not recommended for publication); case activity

The recantations of Bartee, the victim, and Griffin, another state’s witness, don’t satisfy the newly-discovered evidence test because they are not sufficiently corroborated. Nor is there a reasonable probability a different result would be reached in a new trial with the recantation evidence.

To constitute newly-discovered evidence, a recantation must meet five requirements: (1) it must have been discovered after conviction; (2) the defendant must not have been negligent in discovering it; (3) it must be material to an issue in the case; (4) it must not be cumulative; and (5) it must be corroborated by other newly-discovered evidence. State v. Ferguson, 2014 WI App 48, ¶25, 354 Wis. 2d 253, 847 N.W.2d 900. Assuming the recantations meet the first four factors, the court concludes they fail to satisfy the corroboration requirement, which is met only when “‘(1) there is a feasible motive for the initial false statement; and (2) there are circumstantial guarantees of the trustworthiness of the recantation.’” Id., ¶25.

¶24      The problem with Jines’s contention that police pressure created a feasible motive for Bartee’s initial false statement is that there was no police pressure when Bartee made his initial statement at the scene of the crime that “Lowkey” shot him, and he does not allege that that accusation was made because of alleged police pressure in connection with that early accusation. Thus, the alleged “motive” of alleged police pressure fails.

¶25      Griffin’s recantation is equally problematic. First, it is not sworn testimony. Second, Jines has offered no factual basis as to what alleged federal charges gave him a motive to testify falsely. Further, the alleged recantation comes nine years after the trial testimony, and is contradicted by the statement he gave police when questioned about his recantation. Moreover, Griffin told the officer that he had always been bothered by the lengthy sentence imposed on his friend; this suggests a very different motive for Griffin’s alleged recantation. Griffin’s recantation is not corroborated “by other newly discovered evidence.”

And even if the recantations were corroborated, it’s not reasonably probable a new trial would reach a different result:

¶26      …. [O]ther witnesses’ testimony clearly establish Jines as the shooter: (1) Rashad Junior, Jines’s good friend, testified that Jines shot Bartee, said he hoped Bartee was dead, skipped town to avoid getting caught, sold his car used at the scene, told people to stop calling him Lowkey, and told the jury why Jines shot Bartee (a revenge shooting because Bartee’s friend had shot Jines earlier); (2) Keiba Johnson, who was Jines’s witness, testified that Jines was at the mall that day and ran to the car at McDonalds after the shooting; (3) citizen witness, John Jonas, testified that he saw two black men running toward the car at the McDonalds and got the license plate of the car, which was traced to Jines. Jines, on the other hand, testified he was not at the mall that day. There is no reasonable probability that a reasonable jury looking at both the recantations and the original accusations would have reasonable doubt as to Jines’s guilt.

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