Tennessee Judge Overturns Capital Conviction Because of Undiscovered Evidence

On October 12, Tennessee Judge James Beasley Jr. (pictured) overturned the conviction and death sentence of Michael Rimmer because critical evidence, not presented at his trial, throws doubt on Rimmer’s guilt. The court ruled that Rimmer’s “overburdened” trial lawyers repeatedly failed to uncover evidence that two other men were seen at the victim’s last location around the time of her disappearance, and both had blood on their hands. One of the men was already wanted in connection with another stabbing. Moreover, one of the men was reportedly carrying what looked like a heavy object wrapped in a comforter and loaded it into the trunk of a car. The court found that the lead prosecutor in the case compounded the injustice by making “blatantly false, inappropriate and ethically questionable” statements to Rimmer’s defense lawyers, denying the existence of such evidence. The court ordered a new trial for Rimmer.

Rimmer has been on death row for 14 years. The victim’s body, that of Rimmer’s ex-girlfriend, was never found.

(B. Heath, “Tennessee death-row inmate’s conviction overturned,” USA Today, October 12, 2012). See Representation. Listen to our podcast on Represenation.