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Juan Smith v. Louisiana, USSC No. 10-8145, cert granted 6/13/11


Decision below: State ex rel. Smith v. Cain, 992 So. 2d 928, 2008 La. LEXIS 1772 (La., 2008), writ denied State v. Smith, 2010 La. LEXIS 2202 (La., Sept. 24, 2010)

Questions Presented (from SCOTUS docket page):

In this Louisiana criminal case, the state trial court, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, and the Louisiana Supreme Court, without making any factual findings, or providing any reasons for their rulings, denied Petitioner Juan Smith post-conviction relief. Smith contends that the Louisiana state courts reached this result only by disregarding firmly-established precedents of this Court regarding suppression of material evidence favorable to a defendant and presentation of false or misleading evidence by a prosecutor.

I.          Is there a reasonable probability that, given the cumulative effect of the Brady and Napue/Giglio violations in Smith’s case, the outcome of the trial would have been different?

II.        Did the Louisiana state courts ignore fundamental principles of due process in rejecting Smith’s Brady and Napue/Giglio claims?

SCOTUSblog page

Lyle Denniston has some background, here. He sees this as a sequel, not-quite companion case, to the recently decided Connick v. Thompson (09-571), which, as he puts it, absolved the New Orleans DA of complaints for failing to train prosecutors about Brady obligations. The petition more or less puts the NODA office back in the spotlight, alleging a “continued ,,, pattern of deceit by concealing material, exculpatory evidence from the defense in the instant case” (p. 10).

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