posted 2021 | State v. MW (Putman County)
This was an incredible and long fought victory on appeal. The client was convicted of Sexual Battery and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He filed an appeal, which was denied. Mr. Forman was hired by the client’s family in order to file a motion for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective counsel.
The facts of the case involved injuries to the genitals of the teenager that was critical to the State’s theory of the case. The State presented the testimony of an expert who told the jury the injuries were the result of sexual abuse. The teenager also testified. However, defense counsel never presented his own expert to refute this assertion and present evidence of an underlying medical issue that caused the injuries.
Mr. Forman noticed numerous other errors committed by defense counsel. Counsel failed to object to numerous improper comments in closing argument, improper testimony about the opinions of other experts who did not testify, promised evidence in opening statement and failed to present it, as well as numerous other errors.
The trial court granted an evidentiary hearing, where Mr. Forman was able to present the client’s case, including having an expert testify about the injuries sustained. Not surprising, the post-conviction court denied the motion. Mr. Forman told the client he expected the court to deny the motion, but Mr. Forman wanted to make a good record for the appeal.
Mr. Forman was also retained to handle the appeal. After presenting the case to the appellate court, including oral argument, the Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed the client’s conviction for sexual battery and his 30 year sentence. The court found that the combined errors of trial counsel rendered him ineffective and ordered a new trial.