On March 19, 2013, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia granted a habeas petition in the case of David Boyce. The Boyce case was screened by MAIP years ago by Misty Thomas (who continued to work on the case after leaving MAIP and graduating from law school). Because MAIP did not yet co-counsel on cases at the time it was screened, the case was referred to a large and committed legal team at Howrey. When Howrey disolved, a great team at Winston & Strawn in Chicago took up the case and ultimately won after receiving a full and fair hearing in court.
This case was troubling because Boyce was convicted of capital murder based largely on the testimony of a dog-sniffing “expert” and a snitch who was a repeat player and who got an undisclosed deal from the state. None of the copious physical evidence at the scene matched Boyce, and there also was a very compelling alternative suspect. While the opinion focuses on one particular Brady claim, the Brady violations also were quite extensive. This is the third federal habeas victory in the past year in a Virginia innocence case involving a Brady violation and/or other prosecutorial misconduct.
The state has 120 days to decide whether to retry Mr. Boyce; we hope he is released on bail soon while that decision is pending. While a special prosecutor is reviewing the case, the attorney general has decided not to appeal the federal judge’s decision.
Links to articles about the case are below.