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Appellant's Brief - Florida State University College of Law

Appellant's Brief - Florida State University College of Law

In 1996, Mr. Riechmann

In 1996, Mr. Riechmann presented evidence that many of the facts presented by the State at trial and relied on by this Court in its opinion were simply not true. 1. In his deposition and at trial, the State’s ballistics expert, Thomas Quirk, testified that the only weapons that could have fired the fatal bullet, a .38 caliber, were an Astra revolver, a Taurus revolver, and an FIE Derringer (R. 2968-72). This Court relied on this testimony when affirming Mr. Riechmann’s conviction because he had two such guns in his hotel room. Riechmann v. State, 581 So. 2d at 141. Although both guns had been ruled out as the murder weapon (R. 2970), Mr. Riechmann’s connection to these weapons was significant to this Court. At the 1996 evidentiary hearing, Quirk conceded that there were numerous other guns that could have fired the fatal bullet, based on their rifling characteristics–-guns that he failed to mention in his pretrial or trial testimony (PC- R.5567-5568). Quirk also conceded that the database he used for his trial testimony was limited to guns that had passed through the Metro-Dade Crime Lab as opposed to the “clearly more inclusive” FBI database (PC-R.5584). 2. The State’s theory for the killing was that Ms. Kischnick had a “serious gynecological problem” that made it impossible for her to continue as a prostitute, and Mr. Riechmann, reliant on her income, killed her for insurance money (R. 2402-04, 4977-78, 4982-84, 5082-84). At the 1996 hearing, Ms. Kischnick’s medical records were introduced and showed that 30 days before her death she did not have a serious gynecological condition, but a “very common malady” that was treated successfully with antibiotics (PC-R. 3598-3599, 3507-3608). On November 4, 1996, Judge Gold denied Mr. Riechmann’s he had contemplated writing the letter during trial(PC-R. 5490). 22

Rule 3.850 motion as to his conviction, but granted sentencing relief and ordered a new penalty phase proceeding before a new judge and jury (PC-R. 6078). Judge Gold found that Mr. Riechmann had been denied effective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase and that the State had withheld favorable information from the defense in the penalty phase. Judge Gold also found that the State had improperly written the order sentencing Mr. Riechmann to death after ex parte communication with the trial judge. In denying guilt phase relief, Judge Gold held that the missing photographs were a mistake in the counting of the exposures; that there was “no undisclosed deal with Walter Smykowski”; and that the failure to disclose the various police reports did not undermine the confidence in the outcome of the trial in light of Smykowski’s testimony (PC-R. 6066- 67). Judge Gold concluded that Smykowski had testified without a deal from the State or that DiGregory’s decision to write a letter did not induce Smykowski to testify (PC-R. 6067). The State filed a Notice of Appeal and Mr. Riechmann timely filed a Notice of Appeal and Cross-Appeal. While the appeal was pending in this Court, Mr. Riechmann’s counsel located a former Miami Beach police officer, Hilliard Veski. 23

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