Juwan Deering conviction vacated by judge

Reading from the United States Constitution, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald asked Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Matis to vacate Juwan Deering’s murder conviction, saying that Deering had not received due process, and did not get a fair trial.

On Tuesday, McDonald stated “I am standing here, your honor, asking you to vacate this conviction which I acknowledge is highly unusual, because my guiding principle is our Constitution.

“The Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment is our absolute truth that we live by as attorneys and judges.  It is the reason we are all standing in this courtroom and has shaped our criminal justice system. ‘No state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws.’”

McDonald went on to state “Juwan Deering was convicted of murder in 2006, and we now know that Mr. Deering did not get a fair trial. Today I am asking the court to vacate Mr. Deering’s convictions and to address bond. In this case evidence was withheld.  There was prosecutorial misconduct.  Mr. Deering did not get a fair trial, and none of that was, or even could have been, corrected on appeal, because the critical evidence was buried in files in my office, and on a videotape and photo lineup in the investigators’ files. The jury never heard that evidence, Judge Wendy

Potts never knew about that evidence, and neither did the Court of Appeals. That evidence was not provided to the defense, and so Mr. Deering and his attorney never knew about it.

“You have had a chance to review the videotape evidence that was withheld, where the witness who discovered the fire and had the best opportunity to know how it started looked at a photo lineup, identified a person that he recognized in the lineup as ‘Juwan’ and then says he is sure that ‘Juwan’ didn’t do it. You have also seen the memos and notes from assistant prosecutors showing that each of the informants received consideration for their testimony, consideration that was not disclosed to the defense or the jury. What happened in this case undermines our community’s faith and trust in the criminal justice system. The answer to that is transparency and action. The public needed to see that report, and now they need to see that, once this injustice was uncovered, we are taking swift action to correct it.”

“I ask that you join me and people of the State of Michigan who I represent and ensure that the Constitution of the United States remains our guiding principle; that in Oakland County, Michigan, our criminal justice system guarantees equal protection of our laws, that every one of us is entitled to due process. Juwan Deering is entitled to due process. I ask that you grant the motion today, your honor.”

Matis stated that he had spent a great deal of time reviewing all of the pleadings and the court file, that he carefully considered the motion to vacate and the newly discovered evidence, and that he agreed that Deering’s constitutional rights had been violated.  The judge then vacated Deering’s convictions and sentences.  Deering remains in custody at this time, pending the prosecutor’s decision whether to retry Deering. The parties are expected back in court next week.


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