Judge Grants Rare Post-Conviction Vacating Conviction

In a rare decision vacating a conviction under NY Criminal Procedure Law §440.10, a Bronx County judge agreed with OAD that our client Amir Douglas was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel.  Mr. Douglas was convicted of first degree gang assault and second degree assault in the death of a fellow incarcerated person at New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail.  Mr. Douglas’s conviction was based entirely upon the testimony of three other inmates in the jail. His trial attorney failed to request that the trial court instruct the jury under New York law that a person cannot be convicted upon the uncorroborated testimony of purported accomplices.  The court found: “There is a reasonable likelihood that [Mr. Douglas] was convicted by insufficient evidence because the jury was not advised to apply the proper standard.  .   .   . [He] has established that trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to seek accomplice corroboration jury charges for the three inmate witnesses who had been implicated in the same incident.” Amir Douglas was represented by OAD Supervising Attorneys Sara Gurwitch and Joe Nursey.