Federal Court Grants Habeas Corpus Petition in OAD Case

In Carmichael v. Chappius, OAD achieved a very rare victory on a habeas petition in federal court on behalf of OAD client, Brian Carmichael, who is serving a 17-year sentence for an A-II drug conviction.  Southern District Judge Katherine Polk Failla granted the petition on the ground that the trial court and Appellate Division unreasonably applied federal constitutional law in overruling trial counsel’s Batson claim that the prosecution exercised its peremptory challenges in a discriminatory fashion.  In granting the petition, the court declined to adopt a Magistrate’s report that recommended denial.  Moreover, the court engaged in a sophisticated and detailed analysis of Batson law and concluded that the New York courts were wrong to hold that statistical evidence alone cannot support a prima facie showing of discrimination.  As for remedy, the court remanded to the New York County Supreme Court to either (i) hold a reconstruction hearing to hear the DA’s race-neutral reasons for the strikes and ultimately decide the Batson claim, or (ii) hold a new trial.  Mr. Carmichael is represented by Sara Gurwitch. Click here to read the decision.