Thursday, September 13, 2012

Innocent Man Granted Habeas in Virginia

Maligie Conteh, a man wrongly convicted of robbery in 2009, has been vindicated with the ruling of the Honorable Randy I. Bellows of the Virginia Circuit Court.  On September 13, 2012, the Court ruled that the prosecution withheld material impeachment evidence in Mr. Conteh's trial.  This evidence, consisting in part of a the victim's recent conviction for possessing a fictitious social security card, constituted Brady material that Commonwealth of Virginia was obligated to disclose, but failed to do so.  The Court also considered newly discovered evidence persuading the judge that a reasonable doubt existed concerning Mr. Conteh's guilt.  Specifically, evidence was presented showing that Mr. Conteh was on Facebook immediately after the robbery took place, which was entirely consistent with his alibi.

Mr. Conteh, currently held for deportation to Sierra Leone, the country from which he fled as a young child to avoid being drafted as a child solider, has been cleared of the robbery charge for which he was wrongly convicted.  A team of attorneys from the law firm of McGuireWoods, led by Anand Ramana, argued on Mr. Conteh's behalf.

A news article related to Mr. Conteh's plight appeared in the Washington Post.  Stay tuned for the most up-to-date information.

UPDATE:  The Washington Post reported on the vacated conviction.