<< Poll on SCOTUS | Main | Blog Scan >>

News Scan

Update-DNA Link May Solve Multiple Murder Case: What happened to Walter Ellis' DNA sample?  AP writer Dinesh Ramde reports that a DNA sample that should have been taken in 2001 is missing.  No one is sure where Ellis' mandated DNA sample is, or whether it was even taken. Ellis served a felony prison sentence from 1998-2001, which means under a 2000 Wisconsin law his DNA sample should have been taken eight years ago.  Ellis' DNA has been linked to the murders of nine women between 1986 and 2007.  The question is emerging, if the police had Ellis' DNA sample, could lives have been saved?  More information on Ellis' case can be found in yesterday's News Scan.

The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Rules Against Trial Judge: Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit found that convicted sex offender Anthony Bernard Smith Jr. was denied the right to a fair trial because of instructions given to the jury.  Chronicle staff writer Bob Egelko reports that the court found jury instructions given by a Sacramento judge were prejudiced toward the defendant.  The Ninth Circuit decision is here.  Anthony Bernard Smith Jr. and James Hinex were tried and convicted of breaking into a home and robbing a man and women, aged 71 and 56.  Additionally, Smith was convicted of forcible oral copulation with the woman.  During the trial, jurors were deadlocked for days on the copulation charge.  Superior Court Judge Michael Virga instructed the jury to consider statements given by Smith and Hinex following their arrest and to look for consistencies and inconsistencies. The Ninth Circuit panel concluded that this coerced the jury into a verdict, and Smith did not receive his constitutional right to a trial by jury.  Justice N.R. Smith dissented, because he was not convinced that the judge's instructions forced the jury to convict Smith of the copulation charge.      

DNA Evidence Solves 24 Year Old Murder: Once again DNA evidence has given a family closure by solving a crime.  North of England correspondent Michelle May reports that the murder of a nine your old boy was solved by DNA evidence.  In July 1985, Imraan Ismail Vohra did not come home from school.  Two days later his body was found raped and strangled in a park.  After 24 years, DNA evidence found that Robert David Morley was responsible for this horrible crime.  Unfortunately, Morley died in 1997, so he will never be held accountable in a court of law.  Vohra's family stated that "As a family we would have liked to have seen justice in the courts, but justice will be done here after."  Police continue their investigation into this case.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives