Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Supreme Court Rules For Tenn. Death-Row Inmate

In a follow up to our blog of December 9, 2008, the United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Tennessee death-row inmate Gary Bradford Cone who was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty for beating an elderly couple to death in 1980. Cone claimed he had been deprived of key evidence at his trial. Cone admitted he committed the murders. However, he claimed that he was a drug addict who suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome following his military service in Vietnam. At the trial, the prosecutor ridiculed his claims as "baloney." Later, it was discovered that prosecutors had withheld information that could back Cone's claims including police and FBI communications describing Cone as a drug addict and witness statements describing his weird behavior. Cone was able to obtain these documents following a Freedom of Information request rather than being voluntarily given the documents by the prosecutor. During oral arguments, the justices showed bursts of anger towards Tennessee prosecutors for not turning over the evidence.

The case is being returned to the federal district court to determine whether the withheld evidence unfairly affected the jury's decision to sentence him to death.

The case is Cone v. Bell, 07-1114.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at www.thelegaldefenders.com or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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