Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bulletin: Joseph Buffey: West Virginia; Innocence Project case; Exponent Telegram reports that his fate is now in the judge's hands as he seeks to vacate his guilty pleas to rape and robbery - and to establish that the DNA evidence points to another man.

STORY: "Joseph Buffey's fate now in hands of judge: Bedell hears attorneys a final time in case of a man seeking to vacate rape, robbery pleas," by Matt Harvey, Assistant Managing Editor of the Exponent Telegram, published on December 4, 2013.

GIST:  "Buffey is serving 40 years in prison for the robbery of the elderly mother of a Clarksburg police officer, and 30 to 70 years more for two counts of first-degree sexual assault. Though he pleaded guilty in 2001 in a hearing before Bedell, Buffey now maintains he is innocent. His confession was coerced, he contends, and his guilty plea came only after his lawyer at the trial proceedings let him down, according to Buffey’s current lawyers, Barry Scheck of New York’s Innocence Project and Allan Karlin of Morgantown. Scheck and Karlin also contend Buffey received ineffective assistance from another lawyer who represented Buffey in a previous challenge of his imprisonment. And they believe their trump card is new testing of the DNA that the Innocence Project underwrote for $72,000 and which led to a recent database hit that pointed to Adam Bowers, then a juvenile, as the main DNA donor. Bowers, 28, subsequently was charged by Clarksburg Police, but the state just as doggedly maintains its theory that Buffey also was involved......... Over and over, Karlin also said the state may be fixated on Buffey as a suspect because they simply can’t understand why anyone would plead guilty to the crimes. But Karlin said there’s plenty of real-world evidence showing that this can, and does, happen. The way the attorneys are interpreting the DNA evidence also is at odds. Statements from both sides indicate there could have been one assailant who carried additional male DNA on his sex organ while committing the crimes; that there could have been two perpetrators; or that even three men could have been involved in the attack......... No matter what Bedell rules, the case is likely far from over. If the judge denies the challenge, Scheck, Karlin and attorneys Nina Morrison and Sarah Wagner Montoro likely will appeal to the state Supreme Court, or perhaps even the U.S. Supreme Court. If Bedell grants the challenge and vacates the pleas, Romano and Assistant Prosecutor James Armstrong also could appeal to the state Supreme Court. And even if they didn’t appeal, they could decide to put Buffey on trial, with codefendant Bowers as a potential wild card in the state’s case. Buffey currently isn’t scheduled to be eligible for a parole hearing until December of 2041, when he would be 59 years old, according to state prison records."

The entire story can be found at:


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