Tuesday, October 22, 2013

David Camm: Indiana; As case goes to the jury, McKinney law school Professor Novella Nedoff tells WIBC that telling the jurors that the two murder convictions were thrown out on appeal has been part of the central defence argument that authorities jumped to a conclusion that Cam was guilty - then viewed all subsequent evidence through that lense.

STORY: "David Camm trial now in Jury's hands," by reporter David Berman, published by WIBC on October 22, 2013.

GIST: Law Professor Novella Nedeff says telling jurors those two convictions were thrown out on appeal has been part of the central defense argument that authorities jumped to a conclusion that Camm was guilty, then viewed all subsequent evidence through that lens. Both prior convictions were reversed because of prejudicial evidence that the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled should not have been admitted. Nedeff says it's unusual for a case to be reversed twice for the same error. She says the testimony in the second trial that prompted the reversal was not only prejudicial, but highly speculative. In the first trial, prosecutors called witnesses who suggested Camm had had affairs. Nedeff says the problem there isn't the strength of the evidence, but its relevance. It's well-established law that prosecutors can't use unrelated crimes or bad behavior to poison the jury's opinion of the defendant as a person. Nedeff explains the defense can sometimes open the door to that kind of testimony -- for instance, if a defendant accused of child abuse claims the child's injuries were an accident, prosecutors can call witnesses to testify to other incidents of abuse. Prosecutors could also claim a crime is part of a pattern of similar crimes, if they can show significant similarities. But Nedeff says it's too much of a leap to argue that showing a defendant is a bad husband, even if proven, is evidence that he's also a murderer."

The entire story can be found at:


See also "Camm case goes to jury today."(WIBC): "The third trial includes one element the first two haven't: testimony from Charles Boney, who prosecutors contend sold Camm the murder weapon. Professor Novella Nedeff at IUPUI's McKinney School of Law says Boney's testimony presents prosecutors with a challenge in closing arguments: they can't accept his story at face value, because he claims to have been an innocent bystander in a case in which prosecutors have already convicted him of murder. At the same time, they need to persuade the jury that the gist of his story of witnessing Camm commit the murders is true. Camm's lawyers contend Boney acted alone. Nedeff notes a convicted murderer's credibility as a witness is already suspect, but says prosecutors will likely argue it's Camm who brought him into the case, not they. While defense lawyers try to discredit Boney in their closing arguments, Nedeff says prosecutors will work to punch holes in the findings of defense experts who claim "touch DNA" from the crime scene exonerates Camm and incriminates Boney. The last week of the trial centered on rebuttal witnesses contending that interpretation is unreliable. And Nedeff expects prosecutors will argue the stories of witnesses who played basketball with Camm that night still leave a big enough hole in the timeline for Camm to have slipped away to commit the murders."



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