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    • Brief

    Nowill v. State of Georgia

    Table of Contents Included in Document 

    Memorandum in Support of Habeas Petition in Child Sex Abuse Case

    Open Records Request

    Letter to Defense Expert

    Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus 

    Moiton for New Trial 

    Motion for Issuance and Enforcement of Subpoena for Additional Medical Records 

    Ruling on Motion for New Trial and Ruling by Georgia Court of Appeals


    Argument: With proper investigation, preparation, and presentation by the defense in this case, there is absolutely overwhelming evidence that supports Mr. Nowill's total innocence. Mr. Nowill is presently seven years into the service of his sentence of thirty years in prison because, to date, no sitting judge or sitting jury had presented to them the complete evidence in this case for their consideration. Mr. Nowill is, in fact, innocent.

    Mr. Nowill is the father of the alleged victim, Heather Nowill. On August 13, 2000, Heather, then aged 16, claimed that her father had been having a sexual relationship with her over the previous four years since she was 12 years old. She claimed this sexual relationship involved digital penetration of her vagina, mutual oral sex between she and her father, and full acts of sexual intercourse with complete and full penetration of her vagina by her father's penis occurring 3 to 4 times weekly for the duration of the 4 year period of time. Stunned when he first confronted with these allegations on the day of her outcry, and continuing for 2 years including his testimony before the jury in this case, Mr. Nowill denied any sexual contact with his daughter and consistently has maintained his innocence.

    On the day of her alleged outcry Heather was required to undergo a medical examination at University Hospital. The complete report of this examination was not provided to trial counsel by the State. Trial counsel did not independently request of subpoena the medical records of the examination. The State did not call the doctors who performed the medical examination to testify in the trial. Also, despite the extensive and ongoing allegations of intercourse by Heather, trial counsel did not request or subpoena the medical records from her regular doctor throughout the period of time in question. With virtually nothing except the word of the alleged victim the case proceeded to trial. Even law enforcement personnel admitted there was absolutely no physical evidence to support the allegation.

    • Brief

    Hammoud v. Ma’at

    Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner-Appellant.


    Argument: NACDL’s amicus brief argues that under the savings clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), a prisoner may seek habeas corpus relief through 28 U.S.C. § 2241 under limited circumstances: when the § 2255 remedy is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of [the prisoner’s] detention.”  28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).  For 20 years, the Fifth Circuit has recognized that the § 2255 remedy is “inadequate or ineffective” if a petitioner cannot seek relief despite a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision establishing that the petitioner may have been convicted of a nonexistent crime.  Although that test leaves the door closed on some actual-innocence claims that should be recognized, it is generally consistent with the savings-clause tests applied in nearly every other federal court of appeals.  Most importantly, that test confirms that the savings clause offers more than a hollow process providing no practical opportunity to end unlawful imprisonment.  The Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, by contrast, have held that the savings clause applies only if the procedure afforded by § 2255 was formally unavailable.  According to those courts, so long as there was some theoretical chance to assert a claim under § 2255—even if the claim was futile or frivolous under existing precedent—the remedy was adequate and effective.  The Fifth Circuit should not modify or overrule its savings-clause jurisprudence to align itself with the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits.  The test applied in those circuits contravenes the text of the savings clause and congressional intent, poses constitutional concerns, and would force petitioners and their counsel to disregard binding precedent, court rules, and ethical obligations that forbid arguments that would be frivolous under settled law.  Moreover, application of the formal-process test would undermine public confidence in the justice system’s treatment of prisoners who contend that retroactive changes in the law mean they are actually innocent.

    • Brief

    Cody v. United States

    Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Due Process Institute as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner (On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari). 


    Argument: Without addressing the relevant text or history, the Eleventh Circuit held that, for purposes of the COA statute, a “proceeding under section 2255” extends beyond identifying a defect in custody—habeas’s historic outer limit—to also include the process of choosing an appropriate remedy. The court of appeals erred by reading the jurisdictional limits in the Antiterror-ism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) in isolation from—rather than in pari materia with—the jurisdictional grants that they were enacted to restrain. Read together, sections 2255 and 2253 communicate Congress’s unambiguous intent that a “proceeding under section 2255” has the same scope as a traditional proceeding for habeas corpus. This Court’s habeas precedents, in turn, make clear that the scope of that proceeding does not include selecting a remedy. review is warranted because requiring a Certificate of Appealability prior to appellate review of a choice of remedy under § 2255(b) would be the functional equivalent of abolishing review altogether. COAs are available only for constitutional claims, but the choice of post-conviction remedy is an almost purely statutory procedure, and, as a practical matter, no COA could ever issue to a defendant in petitioner’s position. This Court’s review is needed to resolve that split and correct the Eleventh Circuit’s misinterpretation of the statutes governing federal post-conviction review.