For 23 Years, Prosecutors Illegally Hid Evidence That Could Have Exonerated Rodney Reed
u0022Rodney Reed’s conviction and death sentence must be overturned.”
12.17.21 By Innocence Staff
(Austin, Texas) Prosecutors at Rodney Reed’s 1998 trial illegally concealed statements from Stacey Stites’s co-workers showing that Mr. Reed and Ms. Stites knew each other and were romantically involved, according to a Request for Grant of Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed at the 21st Judicial District Court in Bastrop County, Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals early this morning. Mr. Reed’s Application also states that the State illegally suppressed statements from Ms. Stites’s neighbors about loud domestic violence arguments between Ms. Stites and her fiancé, Jimmy Fennell, a police officer who was the prime suspect in Ms. Stites’s murder for nearly a year.
Mr. Reed’s Request for Grant of Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/49r7e7mx
Under the U.S. Supreme Court case Brady vs. Maryland (1963), the State had an affirmative duty to turn over all evidence that was favorable to Mr. Reed’s defense. Instead, the State hid the evidence pointing to Mr. Reed’s innocence for more than two decades.
“The prosecution’s concealment of statements from Stacey Stites’s co-workers and neighbors is a textbook example of a Brady violation. The constitutional violation is as crystal clear as the remedy: Rodney Reed’s conviction and death sentence must be overturned,” said Jane Pucher, Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project, and one of Mr. Reed’s attorneys.
“The constitutional violation is as crystal clear as the remedy: Rodney Reed’s conviction and death sentence must be overturned.”
At trial, prosecutors repeatedly told Mr. Reed’s jury — falsely — that investigators “talked to all these people, and not one of them … ever said she was associated with that defendant. Ever. They weren’t dating according to anyone, there weren’t friends, they weren’t associates.”
The Application states that the “withheld information is crucial because it demonstrates that the key factual theory of the State’s capital murder case against Mr. Reed – that he had to have kidnapped Ms. Stites because the two were strangers – was false.” (Application at p. 2.)