How to Use DNA Testing to Obtain a New Trial – State of Florida vs. Britt

teamworkNLPA is often contacted by defendants and their attorneys in cases where the defendant has been convicted despite a presentation of all available evidence.  The case of State of Florida v. Cheydrick Britt, case number 02-CF-15542 (13th Cir. 2002) demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of research that can hold the prosecution to its burden to provide all available discovery and to have relevant scientific testing performed on such evidence.

Mr. Britt was charged with three sexual offenses by the grand jury for Hillsborough County, Florida in 2002.  Mr. Britt proceeded to a jury trial in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court in May 2004.  During trial, testimony was presented that a rape kit was prepared by law enforcement officials, with the kit containing two smears, pubic hair combings, vaginal swabs, possible hairs collected from vaginal swabs, additional swabs, saliva sample, the victim’s panties, and possible hair collected from the panties.  However, this evidence was not tested for DNA.  

NLPA was hired to assist Mr. Britt’s attorney, Charles A. Murray, Esq., to force the state of Florida to test the rape kit for DNA evidence.  Accordingly, NLPA aided in the preparation of a post-conviction motion for DNA testing pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.853.  The motion was granted, and the rape kit evidence was tested for DNA.  The results of the testing called into question the propriety of Mr. Britt’s convictions, forcing the trial court to vacate his convictions and sentences in 2013 and order that a new trial be had, should the government wish to continue prosecution.

Critical to the success of the request for DNA testing was to demonstrate that testing would likely uncover evidence that Mr. Britt did not commit the crimes at issue.  By reviewing every page of the trial transcript, NLPA discovered that a witness for the prosecution stated that the victim’s mother could not be excluded as a DNA donor to a sock and the victim’s bed sheet, which were tested in this matter.

As you can see from the attached letter from Mr. Murray, NLPA’s efforts were greatly appreciated and resulted in the court ordering a new trial for Mr. Britt.  If your client is innocent and wants a new trial, please contact NLPA.

The bottom line is that just because an individual is convicted does not mean that the individual was properly convicted and that all attempts to obtain justice must cease.   Instead, by carefully reviewing all evidence and every action that has occurred in a case, possible means of challenging an unjust conviction will often come to light.  NLPA has been at the forefront of attacking unjust convictions.  Should your clients find themselves in similar situations to Mr. Britt, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any motions and/or research necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your clients.

NLPA, WE CARE, WE LISTEN, WE GET RESULTS!

DISCLAIMER:  This informational memorandum is designed to introduce you to NLPA.  As NLPA is not a law firm, professional services are only provided to licensed counsel in all areas that involve the practice of law.

Nothing presented herein is intended to be legal advice. Such advice can only be provided by a local licensed attorney based on a full discussion of a client’s individual facts and circumstances. The contents of this document are  provided solely for general informational purposes. Always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for specific legal problems.

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NLPA Continues Its Mission In Helping Clients And Their Attorneys Obtain Positive Results

NLPA is always proud to spotlight our victories as we continue to work hard for our clients and their counsel. We continue to lead the way in obtaining successful outcomes for our clients whether it be in challenging their federal sentencing guidelines; pursuing reductions of sentence; requesting DNA evidence; and through administrative requests for transfers, CTC placement or halfway house approvals. Here are several of our most recent victories. As you can see, NLPA continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

Magwood, N – NLPA assisted counsel in the pretrial case of Mr. Magwood which was heard in the USDC, District of South Carolina (Charleston) (Case No.: 2:11-cr-02037-19) where Mr. Magwood was charged with Sell, Distribute or Dispense Crack Cocaine. NLPA prepared research and motions to defend his case at trial which resulted in the jury returning a NOT GUILTY VERDICT!

Britt, C – NLPA assisted the office of Charles Murray in the preparation of a motion for DNA testing to aid in the defense of Mr. Britt’s case on a post-conviction motion which was filed in the State of Florida (Hillsborough County) (Case No. 02-CF-15542). The court granted that motion permitting the DNA evidence to be retested for use in the post-conviction proceedings. Hopefully this will be beneficial to another victory with the actual post-conviction motion itself!

Bowdoin, T  – NLPA assisted the office of Charles A. Murray, Esq in the preparation of research for Mr. Bowdoin’s sentencing. His case was heard in the USDC, District of Columbia (Washington, DC) Case No: 1:10-cr-00320-1 where Mr. Bowdoin was charged with Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television; Manipulative and Deceptive Devices; Securities Violation – Sale of Unregistered Securities. Mr. Bowdoin had plead guilty and his PSI listed a guideline range of 168-210 months. However, at sentencing the court instead imposed 78 months – saving him 11 YEARS in prison!

Maldonado, S – NLPA assisted counsel in the preparation of sentencing research in the case of Mr. Maldonado which was heard in the USDC, Western District of New York (Rochester) Case No.: 6:11-cr-06166-1. Mr. Maldonado was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics; Sell, Distribute or Dispense Narcotics; Unlawful Transport of Firearms. He plead guilty in the case and his guideline range listed him at 360 TO LIFE. However, at sentencing the court imposed a sentence of 300 months – saving Mr. Maldonado a LIFETIME in prison.

Francis, B – NLPA assisted counsel in preparing sentencing research on the case of Bonnie Francis which was heard in the USDC, District of Maryland (Greenbelt) Case No.:8:09-cr-00012-1 where the defendant had been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with intent to Distribute Controlled Substances. The defendant entered into a plea agreement in the case and had a guideline range of 120-121 months. However, at sentencing the judge imposed a sentence of 78 months – saving the defendant more than 3 years in prison.

Gibson, C – NLPA assisted Mr. Gibson’s attorney with the preparation of research to aid at his sentencing which was heard in the USDC District of New Mexico (Roswell) Case No.: 5:11-cr-00918-1. Mr. Gibson was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute (20 Grams or More Crack Cocaine); Felon in Possession of Firearms and had plead guilty in the case. The PSI Report listed his guideline range at 92-115 months. However, at the sentencing hearing the judge imposed a sentence of 63 months – saving Mr. Gibson more than 4 years in prison!

Sheikh, A – NLPA assisted Mr. Sheikh’s attorney in preparing sentencing research to help argue against the guideline range he was facing of 57-71 months. The case was heard in the USDC, Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville) Case No.: 3:10-cr-00260-28 where Mr. Sheikh was charge with Conspiracy to Produce, Use and Traffic in Counterfeit Devices; Conspiracy to persuade another person to alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal an object with the intent to impair the objects integrity for use in an official proceeding. Mr. Sheikh had already entered a plea of guilty in the case. However, the court agreed on a lower sentence of 48 months – saving Mr. Sheikh nearly two years in prison.

Thompson, A – NLPA assisted Mr. Thompson’s counsel in the preparation of research for use at his sentencing hearing. The case was heard in the Alabama USDC Northern District of Alabama (Northeastern) CASE #: 5:11-cr-00239, where Mr. Thompson was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine. After entering a plea in the case, the guideline range in his PSI had him listed a sentencing range of 168-210 months. However, the court instead imposed a sentence of 90 months – saving Mr. Thompson TEN YEARS in prison!

Mackey, A – NLPA assisted counsel for Mr. Mackey in the preparation of sentencing research. His case was heard in the USDC, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) Case No.: 1:10-cr-00310-1 where Mr. Macky had been charged with Attempt and Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television; Fraud and Swindles. The defendant was convicted at trial and was facing a sentencing guideline range of LIFE. However, at sentencing the court instead imposed a sentence of 326 months – saving Mr. Mackey a LIFETIME in prison.

Rigsby, R – NLPA assisted Mr. Rigsby in the preparation of an administrative request for CTC / Halfway House placement. Mr. Rigsby had been convicted in the USDC, Southern District of Ohio (Columbus) Case No.: 2:10-cr-00083 and sentenced to sixty (60) months plus five (5) years supervised release. Based upon the request filed, the Bureau of Prisons agreed that instead of reviewing Mr. Rigsby for placement into a CTC / Halfway house facility 6 to 12 months prior to his release date, that they would review him for such at 17 to 19 months prior to his release date.