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Appellant's Brief - Florida State University College of Law

Appellant's Brief - Florida State University College of Law

the claims involve

the claims involve “disputed issues of fact.” Maharaj v. State, 684 So. 2d 726, 728 (Fla. 1996). In Mr. Riechmann’s case, the lower court erroneously failed to grant an evidentiary hearing on the information provided by Officer Veski despite Mr. Riechmann’s proffer of his testimony. 44 As explained by Mr. Riechmann, Officer Veski did not provide the information regarding the actions of Sreenan until after the conclusion of the 1996 evidentiary hearing. During the 1996 proceedings, Sreenan testified specifically that she had not pressured Officer Veski to 44 The postconviction court precluded Officer Veski’s testimony at the State’s urging. The State argued that Veski’s proffered testimony “has absolutely positively no relevance to the claims that Your Honor has granted an evidentiary hearing on” (Supp. PC-R2. 144). However, this Court’s opinion in Mordenti v. State, 29 Fla. L. Weekly S809 (Fla. December 16, 2004), made clear that Brady/Giglio claims must be evaluated cumulatively. Courts must give cumulative consideration to each alleged Brady/Giglio violation in determining whether the overall pattern warrants postconviction relief. Officer Veski’s statement that Sreenan pressured him to testify falsely is highly relevant to every aspect of the Brady/Giglio claim made by Mr. Riechmann. How much of the State’s case against Mr. Riechmann was the product of an overzealous prosecutor seeking to win a conviction at any cost? Officer Veski’s statement was consistent with Smykowski’s affidavit. A jury confronted with such prosecutorial misconduct would view the State’s circumstantial case in a different light. Moreover, Officer Veski’s statements reveal that Sreenan was less than truthful in her 1996 postconviction testimony that she did not pressure Officer Veski. Veski’s testimony is absolutely essential to any evaluation of Sreenan’s credibility. 48

change his testimony (PC-R. 4771). In Banks v. Dretke, 124 S. Ct. 1256 (2004), the Supreme Court held: When police or prosecutors conceal significant exculpatory or impeaching material in the State’s possession, it is ordinarily incumbent on the State to set the record straight. Banks v. Dretke, 124 S. Ct. 1256 (2004). Thus, a rule “declaring ‘prosecutor may hide, defendant must seek,’ is not tenable in a system constitutionally bound to accord defendants due process.” Given the State’s deception, Mr. Riechmann was entitled to assume the truthfulness of Sreenan’s testimony, at least until Veski revealed that she had indeed pressure him to testify to something other than the truth. 45 As a result, Mr. Riechmann was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on Officer Veski’s serious and significant allegations. 46 Mr. Riechmann was also entitled to present Veski’s testimony to properly evaluate the cumulative effect 45 Again, because Mr. Riechmann was deprived of an opportunity to present evidence on this claim, i.e. call Veski as a witness, his statements must be accepted as true. Lightbourne v. Dugger. 46 Moreover, as this Court recently explained, Mr. Riechmann was entitled to cumulative consideration of all his Brady/Giglio claims. Mordenti v. State, 29 Fla. L. Weekly S809 (Fla. December 16, 2004). The refusal to permit the presentation of Veski’s testimony precluded the requisite cumulative consideration. 49

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