Habeas Review – Exculpatory Evidence
Statements of three eyewitnesses, not disclosed to the defendant, that would have implicated the state’s principal eyewitness and otherwise impeached his credibility and that of 2 other state’s witnesses was “material.” It is reasonably probable that disclosure would have netted a different result, and the state court’s contrary conclusion unreasonably applied clearly established law.
The court stresses, “The reasonable probability standard for materiality of suppressed evidence is less rigorous than a preponderance of the evidence standard in that a petitioner need only show that the new evidence undermines confidence in the verdict.” Applying this standard appears to be where the state court went off the rails: though that court “initially identified this as the correct legal principle,” it proceeded to reject materiality on the inapposite basis that the suppressed information didn’t conclusively establish innocence.
… So while the Indiana court identified the correct legal principle—that Goudy had to demonstrate a reasonable probability that the new evidence would lead to a different result—the statements quoted above would require that Goudy prove the new evidence necessarily “would have” established his innocence. Placing this burden on Goudy was “diametrically different,” Taylor, 529 U.S. at 406, than the clearly established principle laid out in Kyles, 514 U.S. at 434, Bagley, 473 U.S. at 682, and Agurs, 427 U.S. at 112-14.
Nor was that all; the state court also wrongly
dismissed each piece of suppressed evidence in seriatim, rather than assessing its cumulative effect as required by Kyles, 514 U.S. at 440. … By not identifying the cumulative materiality standard required by Kyles, 514 U.S. at 440, and analyzing suppressed evidence in isolation, the court deprived Goudy of the full exculpatory value of this evidence and unreasonably applied clearly established law.