Court ruled in this published opinion that a district court may consider whether a defendant has established ‘exceptional circumstances’ for release on bond under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(c) despite 18 U.S.C. § 3143(a)(2).
The defendant did not dispute that his guilty plea mandated his detention under § 3143(a)(2). Rather, he argued that he could be released under § 3145(c). Court had never explicitly held in a published decision that the district court has authority to release defendants being detained pursuant to § 3143(a)(2) upon a showing of "exceptional reasons" under § 3145(c). Court had reached that conclusion in an unpublished decision. United States v. Cook, 42 F. App’x 803, 804 (6th Cir. 2002). Given that holding, the unanimous agreement of other circuits that have considered the issue, and the government’s concession of error in the case, the Court held that the district court erred in not considering whether the defendant established exceptional reasons to support his release pending sentencing.
Over the course of several months leading up to trial, the prosecution failed to comply with defense counsel’s repeated requests to view a tape from a convenience store. A few days before trial, the prosecution showed the tape to defense counsel, but when counsel viewed the tape,"[t]here was nothing on it." The trial transcript reflects that there was considerable confusion regarding the tape’s condition. At a sidebar prompted by a prosecution witness’s mention of the tape, the prosecutor told the court that the videotape could not be viewed due to a problem with the prosecutor's office equipment. Neither the defense nor the jury saw the tape.
The jury convicted the defendant on both charges. The defendant filed motions in the Wayne County Circuit Court requesting a new trial and a Ginther hearing. At the evidentiary hearing, the trial court watched the convenience store security tape, which could now be viewed, for the first time and granted the defendant a new trial due to the prosecution’s failure to provide the defense with a usable copy of the tape. The Michigan Court of Appeals vacated the trial court’s grant of a new trial, citing the lower court’s lack of jurisdiction to grant such a motion, and affirmed the convictions. The defendant then filed a pro per application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The state supreme court denied this application. The defendant then filed a pro se petition in federal court. The district court denied habeas relief, but the Court of Appeals granted a certificate of appealability to consider the defendant’s Brady claim.
The Court, however, affirmed the judgment of the district court because the defendant failed to show a reasonable probability that the suppressed videotape would have produced a different outcome.
Warlick filed a nine-claim habeas petition in the Eastern District of Michigan pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The district court dismissed three of the claims for failure to exhaust state appeals. These dismissed claims were improper: (1) jury instruction, (2) endorsement of a state witness, and (3) admission of a 911 tape. The district court later denied the six other claims after the case was transferred to another judge. Warlick appealed, alleging: (1) insufficiency of convicting evidence, (2) improper admission of his statement to the police, (3) improper withholding of evidence,(4) prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel, (5) deprivation of his right to testify and ineffective assistance of counsel, and (6) erroneous dismissal of the three claims for failure to exhaust available state appeals.
For a number of evidentiary and procedural reasons, the Court of Appeals denied relief.