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Amicus Brief Bank

The Amicus Brief Bank is an online archive of all Amicus Briefs filed by the Innocence Network in cases around the country.
What is an Amicus Brief?

An amicus brief is a written legal argument filed by someone not directly involved in a case on appeal to help educate the court about particular issues. The Network decides when to file amicus briefs based upon many factors including which jurisdiction the case is in, what the particular issues being advocated are, and what kind of an impact the brief might have.

Submit an Amicus Brief Request

See our amicus brief request page to submit a request to the Innocence Network’s Amicus Committee

View the Amicus Brief Bank
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Amicus brief
Unreliable Forensic Science
Prante, John, People of the State of Illinois v. (2022)
Position: The Court should grant Amici’s motion for leave and accept the proposed brief, under the third reason listed above, because of Amici’s unique expertise on issues related to the use of flawed or unreliable scientific and forensic evidence—including bite-mark evidence, which is at issue in this case—and the ways in which such faulty evidence contributes to wrongful convictions.
Decision: Pending
Counsel:  

Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll LLP

Courts:  

Supreme Court of Illinois

Case #: 127241
Amicus brief
Actual Innocence
New Evidence of Innocence
Shaken Baby Syndrome
State/Federal Habeas Corpus Rules & Procedures
Gutierrez, Ruben, Ex Parte (2022)
Position: The Court should exercise its equitable and statutory authority to sever the unconstitutional provision of Chapter 64 and enforce the remainder of Chapter 64 so as to order the requested DNA testing.
Decision: On 5/25/22, the Court denied the Motion for Chapter 64 DNA Testing
Counsel:  

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Courts:  

107th District Court of Cameron County, Texas

Case #: 98-CR-1391-A
Amicus brief
Actual Innocence
New Evidence of Innocence
Shaken Baby Syndrome
State/Federal Habeas Corpus Rules & Procedures
Smith, Danyel v. State of Georgia (2022)
Position: Based on the widely recognized, fundamental shift in the medical underpinnings of an SBS diagnosis, the trial court erred when it failed to grant Mr. Smith a hearing on his extraordinary motion for new trial.
Decision: Decided May 13, 2022; the Supreme Court of Georgia granted the application for discretionary appeal.
Counsel:  

King & Spalding, LLP

Courts:  

Supreme Court of Georgia

Case #: S22D0915
Amicus brief
Actual Innocence
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
New Evidence of Innocence
Shields, Derrick v. Jerry Bradshaw (2022)
Position: The Eighth Circuit should act to correct the overly narrow, incorrect interpretations of Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995), and Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012) that have taken hold within that circuit—in contradiction to the standards that have prevailed in cases from the US Supreme Court and from other federal circuits.
Decision: Pending
Counsel:  

Jones Day

Courts:  

U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit

Case #: 22-1043
Amicus brief
Confessions, Interrogations & Interviewing
False Confessions
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Unreliable Forensic Science
Lucio, Melissa v. State of Texas (2022)
Position: State habeas relief should be granted where prosecution relied on false and scientifically unreliable evidence, and where the jury was not able to consider scientific evidence tending to show that the confession was false.
Decision: Pending
Counsel:  

Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP; Gibbs & Bruns, LLP

Courts:  

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas (Austin, TX)

Case #: 07-CR-00885
Amicus brief
Unreliable Forensic Science
New Evidence of Innocence
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shelby, Tasha Mercedez v. State of Mississippi (2022)
Position: The use of faulty forensic evidence in criminal trials is a serious, recurring problem in the criminal justice system. When scientific understanding changes, especially when such understanding leads to a critical trial expert’s powerful repudiation of prior testimony, an opportunity exists to remedy the mistakes of the past.
Decision: Pending
Counsel:  

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Courts:  

U.S. District Court (Southern District of Mississippi)

Case #: 1:21cv406 HSO-RPM
Amicus brief
Police or Prosecutorial Misconduct
State/Federal Habeas Corpus Rules & Procedures
Other Issues
Bethel, Robert, State of Ohio v. (2020)
Position: There is no defendant diligence requirement in Brady claims.
Decision: Decided 11/2/20; Affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals and denied Bethel's motion for leave to file a motion for a new trial.
Counsel:  

Jones Day

Courts:  

Supreme Court of Ohio

Amicus brief
Unreliable Forensic Science
Shaken Baby Syndrome
In Re Personal Restraint of Leon L. Reyes (2021)
Position: Faulty forensic evidence leads to wrongful convictions, which the judiciary can, and should, remedy through new trials; there has been a paradigm shift in the relevant scientific community pertaining to SBS/AHT diagnoses; new evidence undermining the SBS/AHT hypothesis is grounds for a new trial.
Decision: Decided 3/15/22; Affirmed the reference hearing findings, dismissed the personal restraint petition and denied the request to strike Dr. Wood's declaration and the request for sanctions.
Counsel:  

Crowell and Moring, LLP

Courts:  

Washington State Court of Appeals

Case #: 52449-0
Amicus brief
Unreliable Forensic Science
Parks, Joann v. Janel Espinoza (2021)
Position: The case against Ms. Parks relied upon unreliable expert testimony regarding outdated theories of forensic fire science grounded in discredited forensic techniques and her conviction must be reversed. This brief also includes an argument regarding the bias against female defendants.
Decision: Pending
Counsel:  

Duane Morris LLP

Courts:  

California Court of Appeal, Second District

Case #: B296998
Amicus brief
Access to Evidence
Unreliable Forensic Science
Biggs, Jay L., State of Ohio v. (2021)
Position: Wrongfully Convicted Defendants Cannot Vindicate Their Due Process Liberty Interest in Proving Their Innocence on Post-Conviction Review Without Access to the Scientific or Medical Evidence.
Decision: Pending
Counsel:  

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Courts:  

Ohio Supreme Court

Case #: 2021-0113
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