Earlier this month a judge in rural Pike County, Alabama, overturned two rape convictions against a man from Troy, AL, because prosecutors failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. As the Dothan Eagle reported:
Pike County Circuit Judge Jeffery W. Kelley granted a motion for a new trial for 36-year-old Andre Lamon Ellis, who was sentenced in March to 85 years in prison for the March 2012 rapes of two women at Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Estates in Troy….
According to the official court order, the judge made his ruling based on violations of the Brady Rule, which requires prosecutors to turn over material evidence that could benefit the defense’s case for innocence.
Among other evidence that prosecutors failed to disclose, was the fact that one of the rape victims had identified a different suspect. According to the Dothan Eagle, the judge cited:
[an affidavit by a Troy police officer] that was used to obtain a search warrant for cell phone records of a different suspect than Ellis. The affidavit stated that the victim had made a tentative identification of that suspect in a photographic lineup, and the suspect was independently identified from an artist’s composite sketch of the rapist. “The fact that the victim wrongfully identified another person would be material,” Kelley wrote in his analysis.
Since there was no forensic or physical evidence tying Ellis to the scene, the credibility of trial testimony “may well have been a determining factor” in the conviction, Kelley wrote in his findings.
Prosecutors are considering whether or not to retry the case.