Judge denies Isom's petition for new trial

In the latest post-conviction attempt to overturn his case, Kenneth Isom’s request for Writ of Error Coram Nobis and Ancillary Motions was denied Friday by Circuit Judge Sam Pope.

Isom, who was convicted of robbery, rape and murder in Drew County in 2001 and has been on death row since, filed a petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis and Ancillary Motions on June 12, 2015. It is Isom’s claim that evidence in his most recent criminal case (the 2001 conviction) was withheld from him and his counsel.

Isom was sentenced to death in 2001 by the Drew County Circuit Court. 

Writ of Error Coram Nobis is a petition to allow a court to correct its original judgement upon discovery of a fundamental error which did not appear in the records of the original judgment’s proceedings.

On Friday, Judge Pope denied the petition.

“In sum, with all of this evidence, if only one item of circumstantial evidence pointing to Petitioner was eliminated, there would still be other items pointing to the conclusion the Petitioner committed the crimes,” Pope said in Court documents. 

“In fact, enough items exist to convince the Court that the elimination of only one or two of them alone would not have been reasonably likely to make a difference in the outcome of the trial.The Court has addressed all arguments raising in the original petition, as well as the supplemental petition, found none to merit relief under Brady (v. Maryland, a prior court case ruling Pope used as a precedent), and, therefore, finds and orders the petition and its supplement be dismissed.” 

In Brady v. Maryland, according to court documents released in Isom’s case, there are three elements of a claim:

• The evidence at issue must be favorable to the accused, either because it is exculpatory or impeaching;

• The evidence must have been suppressed willfully or inadvertently by the State; and

• Prejudice must have ensued.

Finding Isom’s claim not meeting those standards was the reasoning behind Pope’s dismal of Isom’s petition.

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