On Tuesday the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an interesting Louisiana murder case. Juan Smith had been convicted of five murders at a New Orleans house party in 1995. At trial, a witness testified that he saw Smith walk through the front door of the house and was face to face with Smith and that he would never forget him. But on the night of the murders the witness had told the police that he could not identify the shooter other that he was African-American and had gold teeth. Five days later he told the police the same thing. The prosecutors never revealed this to Smith's attorneys prior to trial. At the time of the trial, the prosecutor's office would not turn over all the evidence to defendants. The current prosecutor turns over all evidence today. The state agreed that the evidence should have been turned over but argued that even if it had been turned over, it would not have made a difference.
The Supreme Court's decision in this case will have major implications for Smith who has been sentenced to death for three other murders. Prosecutors used his conviction for these murders in arguing for the death penalty on the other case. Its possible that if Smith wins the appeal, then his death sentence for the three other murders may also be overturned.
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