CNN reported today that a man in South Carolina is appealing his rape conviction on the grounds that the jurors found a previously unrevealed written confession in his pants while they were deliberating on their verdict.
Note to self: ask clients to check pockets for incriminating statements before handing pants over to jury.
Apparently, the defendant provided the confession to police but prosecutors were unable to enter it into evidence because they could not find a copy. The pants, however, did become an exhibit (it being a rape case and all), and evidently if you give your pants to a jury the first thing they will do when they get in the jury room is go through your pockets.
After the verdict, one of the jurors told prosecutor Angie Martin, “I just want to let you know, there was a statement in the pants.”
The defendant’s lawyer says his client deserves a new trial because the conviction was likely based on unadmitted evidence. The prosecution believes the defendant had something to do with what was in his pants (the confession, I mean), and says it will argue that the conviction should be upheld based on the doctrine of invited error.
CNN.com – — thanks Lisa Lukaszewski