Tuesday, March 02, 2004

House votes for relief from the 21-day rule

A committee of the House of Delegates forwarded along a bill which would allow criminal defendants in some circumstances to present evidence of innocence more than 21 days after the final order of the trial court in their cases, as reported here ("House takes step toward ending 21-day rule on evidence," 3/2/04) in the Roanoke paper.

Also in the news this week was more on the Roger Keith Coleman case, and whether the Governor should allow further DNA testing, as the Roanoke paper reported here ("Coleman's prosecutors welcome DNA testing," 2/29/04). There's a chapter in the John Tucker book about the Coleman case, Chapter 12, titled "A Day Late," which deals with how the appeal on the state law habeas claims regarding the ineffectiveness of counsel for Coleman was dismissed because the notice of appeal was untimely filed. Somehow that's always stuck in my mind as the harshest element of the Coleman case - his best chance for reversal forfeited because his lawyers missed by one day the deadline for filing a notice of appeal, which unlike the petition for appeal, requires almost no actual legal thought.

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