NLPA is often contacted by defendants and their attorneys in cases where the defendant has been convicted despite a presentation of all available evidence. The case of State of Florida v. Cheydrick Britt, case number 02-CF-15542 (13th Cir. 2002) demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of research that can hold the prosecution to its burden to provide all available discovery and to have relevant scientific testing performed on such evidence.
Mr. Britt was charged with three sexual offenses by the grand jury for Hillsborough County, Florida in 2002. Mr. Britt proceeded to a jury trial in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court in May 2004. During trial, testimony was presented that a rape kit was prepared by law enforcement officials, with the kit containing two smears, pubic hair combings, vaginal swabs, possible hairs collected from vaginal swabs, additional swabs, saliva sample, the victim’s panties, and possible hair collected from the panties. However, this evidence was not tested for DNA.
NLPA was hired to provide lawyer assistance to Mr. Britt’s attorney, Charles A. Murray, Esq., to force the state of Florida to test the rape kit for DNA evidence. Accordingly, NLPA aided in the preparation of a post-conviction motion for DNA testing pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.853. The motion was granted, and the rape kit evidence was tested for DNA. The results of the testing called into question the propriety of Mr. Britt’s convictions, forcing the trial court to vacate his convictions and sentences in 2013 and order that a new trial be had, should the government wish to continue prosecution.
Critical to the success of the request for DNA testing was to demonstrate that testing would likely uncover evidence that Mr. Britt did not commit the crimes at issue. By reviewing every page of the trial transcript, NLPA discovered that a witness for the prosecution stated that the victim’s mother could not be excluded as a DNA donor to a sock and the victim’s bed sheet, which were tested in this matter.
Mr. Murray greatly appreciated the lawyer assistance provided by NLPA which resulted in the court ordering a new trial for Mr. Britt. If your client is innocent and wants a new trial, please contact NLPA.
The bottom line is that just because an individual is convicted does not mean that the individual was properly convicted and that all attempts to obtain justice must cease. Instead, by carefully reviewing all evidence and every action that has occurred in a case, possible means of challenging wrongful convictions will often come to light. NLPA has been at the forefront of attacking unjust convictions. Should your clients find themselves in similar situations to Mr. Britt, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any motions and/or research necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your clients.