Thursday, 20 March 2008

Rodney Reed: oral arguments started at Court of Criminal Appeals

News 8 Austin 20/03/08

Rodney Reed makes renewed plea for new trial
3/19/2008 6:25 PM
By: Catie Beck

Reed's lawyers and state prosecutors made their case Wednesday.
While he sat behind bars in East Texas, his lawyers sat before judges in Austin.

Once again they asked for a new trial.

Rodney Reed was hoping for the best case scenario.

"That the judges actually pay attention to what's being argued and accept it for what it is � the truth," Reed said in an interview earlier this week.

Reed's lawyers and State prosecutors made their case in the Court of Criminal Appeals.

"I think it went well," Reed's attorney Morris Overstreet said. "I think the questions they asked were timely and pointed. I think we were prepared for this case."

Reed's lawyers argued that the state withheld evidence in the original trial, even physical evidence, specifically tests done on a beer can found at the crime scene with DNA on it belonging to a police officer. That officer was also a friend and colleague of Stacey Stites' fianc�, Jimmy Fennell Jr.

"You put Mr. Fennell's best friend David Hall at the scene of the crime would a jury question whether Fennell had anything to do with it?" Overstreet asked.

Fennell's recent indictment on rape and kidnapping charges has the court considering his tie to the case. But Stites' family has no doubt that the first trial was fair and that the right man is in prison.

"I absolutely believe that Rodney Reed is the man that did this," Stites' sister, Debra Oliver said.

State prosecutors defended the prior decision as well.

They said the State never withheld evidence and that Reed had a history of violent sex crimes. Though he has never been convicted of one, several allegations have been made.

"Even if he gets free on this one, there are a lot of cases against him, there are a lot of women that haven't gotten justice," Oliver said.

Reed's family has hope for his justice and a fair trial.

"They railroaded my son, and they said what they wanted to say," Reed's mother, Sandra Reed said.

Now all that can be done is to wait, something Reed has learned how to do well.

View Rodney Reed's brief (death penalty case oral argument requested).

View the state's case (respondent's reply brief).

View Fennell's additional motion (motion to supplement habeas record and request for disclosure of exculpatory evidence).


mariana faithful said...

This case sounds so interesting.
I must find the time to read all the arguments.
Thank for this post Anna.

AnnaEsse said...


I am opposed to capital punishment and one of the best reasons for abolishing it is that innocent people get executed.

This week the Georgia Supreme Court refused to overturn the death sentence on Troy Anthony Davis. Since Troy's trial seven out of nine prosecution witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony, two of them to incriminate one of the remaining two witnesses. The Supreme Court decided that witnesses recanting is not a good reason to change the sentence.