Georgia Innocence Project Case Could Move US Supreme Court To Rule on Constitutionality of Wrongful Convictions
Georgia Innocence Project
case may provide an opportunity for the United States Supreme Court to decide whether the Constitution protects innocent people from incarceration or execution, according to an op-ed in today’s
New York Times
by Julie Seaman, associate professor of law at Emory University.
Sandeep Bharadia was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 2003 for a 2001 rape and robbery. Police found valuables belonging to the victim as well as items used in the assault at the home of the girlfriend of Sterling Flint, one of Bharadia’s acquaintances. Flint claimed that Bharadia had given him the items to hold. Bharadia’s defense attorney never asked for DNA testing of the items, and no other physical evidence linked Bharadia to the crime. Despite this, the jury found Bharadia guilty.
In Georgia, a defendant is not entitled to a new trial based on new evidence if the court finds that the evidence could have been presented by the defense during the original trial. So when gloves worn by the perpetrator during the attack were tested for DNA during an appeal and excluded Bharadia, the court declined to retry him or to test Flint to determine if he was a match.
The Georgia Innocence Project filed a motion to have the DNA sample entered into the CODIS DNA database, and in 2012 there was a hit. The sample matched to Flint.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that nothing prevented Bharadia’s trial attorney from requesting DNA testing of the gloves, so Bharadia’s motion for a retrial was denied. The Georgia Innocence Project filed a
petition for Bharadia and if it is denied, they will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Read Seaman’s op-ed
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Emma January 28, 2017 at 7:03 pm
What was the name of the original attorney on the case?