Amicus Briefs

Commonwealth v. Benjamin Walker (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Admissibility of eyewitness identification experts at trial

Urging the Court to join the majority of other jurisdictions and allow experts to testify at trials regarding how various factors related to human memory can affect the reliability of eyewitness identifications

Commonwealth v. Jose Alicia (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Admissibility of false confession experts at trial

Urging the Court to allow experts to testify at trials about the phenomenon of false confessions

James A. Dennis v. John E. Wetzel (Eastern District of Pennsylvania) –
Eyewitness misidentification

Educating the Court on concerns regarding the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness identification testimony and the role such testimony has played in convicting the actually innocent

Han Tak Lee v. Glunt (Third Circuit) –
Actual innocence

Urging the Court to recognize a claim for relief based on actual innocence in federal habeas corpus proceedings

Commonwealth v. Shawn Burton (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Timeliness of state Post Conviction Relief Act petitions

Urging the Court to do away with a presumption that unrepresented prisoners have access to public documents and to loosen the interpretation of statutory provisions regarding when post-conviction petitions must be filed

Commonwealth v. Claude Descardes (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Availability of post-conviction relief

Urging the Court to recognize that individuals who have constitutional claims that could not have been brought while they were in custody should have a legal avenue for review of those claims

Adam Kuren & Steven Allabaugh v. Luzerne County (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Funding for indigent defense

Educating the Court about the ineffectiveness of post-conviction proceedings to cure trial errors that occur as the result of inadequate representation due to insufficient funding for indigent criminal defense

Jerry Reeves v. Fayette SCI (Third Circuit) –
Timeliness of federal habeas petitions

Urging the Court to adopt a standard favorable to habeas petitioners in considering what kinds of new evidence of actual innocence courts can consider in determining whether the petitioners have established a “gateway” claim of actual innocence that would then allow the courts to consider the merits of otherwise time-barred constitutional claims

Commonwealth v. John Marshall Payne, III (Pa. Superior Court En Banc) –
Availability of post-conviction DNA testing

Urging the Court to adopt a liberal interpretation of the Pennsylvania statute allowing for post-conviction DNA testing

Commonwealth v. Elwood Small (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Timeliness of state Post Conviction Relief Act petitions

Urging the Court to do away with the presumption that any prisoner, whether represented or not, has access to public documents and to loosen the interpretation of statutory provisions regarding when post-conviction petitions must be filed

Commonwealth v. Robert Lee Duvall (Pa. Supreme Court) –
False confessions

Educating the Court about the phenomenon of false confessions and urging the Court to establish a presumption that confessions obtained through the use of misrepresentations by police during interrogations are per se involuntary

Commonwealth v. Lakisha Marie Ward-Green (Pa. Supreme Court) –
Timeliness of state Post Conviction Relief Act petitions

Urging the Court to hold that when a case requires expert analysis, the time period for filing a Post Conviction Relief Act petition begins when the petitioner, through the exercise of due diligence, receives the expert report that is essential to her claim