Death Penalty on the Docket

LaMar v. Houk (amicus)

Status:
Closed
Case Dates:
Wednesday, 2 January, 2013 - Tuesday, 18 August, 2015
Facts:

Keith LaMar is one of five men sentenced to death after the Lucasville riot in April of 1993. In preparation for trial, LaMar requested discovery of transcripts of all interviews by the State with prisoners who would testify as witnesses. The trial court denied LaMar’s counsel access to transcripts or even summaries of the interviews. The court required the prosecutor only to produce a bare list of prisoners who had been interviewed. The only evidence at trial against LaMar was testimony by other prisoners.

Immediately following LaMar’s trial, the same prosecutor tried another member of the so-called “death squad” and in that case produced in discovery the very information he had denied counsel for LaMar. LaMar’s counsel filed a motion for new trial, which was denied. Subsequently, the matter was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on February 7, 2011.

Legal Theory:

LaMar’s claim for relief is that the severe limitations on discovery ordered by the trial court violated his right to access favorable evidence from the prosecution.

Status:

The principal brief was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on December 31, 2012. We filed our amicus brief on January 2, 2013 and additional briefing has since taken place.

On May 6, 2013, we filed an amended amicus brief. Since that time, additional motions were filed by both parties. On December 2, 2014, the court heard oral arguments on the merits of the case.

On August 18, 2015, the Sixth Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision. On September 15, 2015, attorneys for LaMar challenged the Sixth Circuit decision by requesting that the case be reviewed by the full set of judges on the Sixth Circuit Court. We filed an amicus brief in support of this request on September 30, 2015. On October 21, 2015, the request was denied.

LaMar appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but certiorari was denied on April 25, 2016. On May 9, 2016, the Sixth Circuit issued the mandate.