We would like to first thank everyone who was able to attend the hearing today to support Jamie, the Snow family, and the Exoneration Project. Your support in the courtroom speaks volumes, and we deeply appreciate everyone who was able to attend. I know there were many of you who were unable to attend, but the outpouring of good wishes on Jamie’s social media sites means the world to us! I cannot WAIT to tell him about all of the wonderful posts and hearing attendees – it makes a difference!
As discussed previously, the court’s primary issue to decide here is whether the successive post conviction petition was unfairly denied. Just to be clear – ALL we are asking for is chance to file this petition which was filed in May 2103 and was denied outright by the lower court – without a hearing.
The Oral Arguments audio is already online, so slap your headphones on and take a listen!
This hearing was held before a panel of three judges: Lisa Holder White, James A. Knecht and Robert J. Steigmann. Each side argued for 20 minutes (starting with the defendant), followed by the State, and ending with the defendant getting 5 minutes for rebuttal.
In reference to the polygraph received obtained through FOIA request – the one NEVER revealed to Jamie’s defense team prior to trial – in which star witness Danny Martinez specifically stated that Jamie Snow was not the person he saw – the State continued to make the weak argument that Martinez was referring to the 1991 line up in which Martinez failed to id Jamie Snow. In the polygraph worksheet notes, it describes the witness airing up his tires, then specifically says: “w says this is not the person he saw.” The State claims the defense is “blowing this up” and turning into something that goes to misconduct by the government. However, there’s no evidence that this note meant anything more than what was written.
Judge Steigmann had an excellent question for the state: So, the witness failed to identify petitioner in the lineup within a few weeks of the crime, and then 3 years later when this polygraph exam is taken, the note in the margin says that Martinez says petitioner is not the person he saw, and…your…description of that is that refers to the lineup?
Thats when things got fuzzy. A lengthy response that didn’t really answer his very straightforward question at all. She still ended with saying that it was a ‘shorthand’ way of saying that Martinez did not ID Jamie in the lineup.
There were also questions by both Knecht and Steigmann concerning affidavits that were previously submitted in which witnesses stated that Martinez and Jamie were acquainted growing up, and that Martinez had told people that he knew Jamie Snow and that Jamie was not the person he saw. The State’s response was basically that there is no evidence that Martinez knew Jamie (and how he looked) during the time of the crime, even if he knew him growing up.
Concerning the affidavit that was submitted by one of the jailhouse informants wives, there were several questions from Stiegmann about why she came forward years later. It was really a bizarre exchange that he simply would not let go of. You just have to hear it yourself, he harped on that issue to the point of absurdity. Not sure anyone knew where he was going with that. Finally, he asked an odd question about whether it we should ‘…stop everything if she came forward in 2025? Tara was like, “Yes.” It isn’t unusual for a witness to come forward years, sometimes even decades later. This is certainly not the first time this has happened.
There was also a focus on the details of the affidavit. Knecht pointed out that the affidavit was unique in that it had so many details such as naming the the detective that put pressure on them, and explaining other details – and that they usually do not see such detailed affidavits.
I do not recall any questions concerning the failed polygraphs by jailhouse informants. Although the State went down the list of jailhouse informants, expressed the leniency they received AFTER they testified. I guess she was trying to make the point that there was no evidence of deals or promises BEFORE they testified. It was another strange event, and I’m not sure how that’s going to work out for them. I just kept thinking what an odd coincidence it was that they ALL received favor on thier cases after they testified.
During rebuttal, Steigmann made another bizarre comment, “…Mr. Snow sounds like a real mope who really did a hell of a job incriminating himself by his behavior…” So, of course, I had to look that one up. According to the Urban Dictionary:
Mope: A person of any race or culture that is: presenting themselves as uneducated (either by mannerisms or the clothing they are wearing). Plural = Mopes Mopes usually are up to no good and may have an extensive criminal record and a limited vocabulary.
Aside from sentencing hearings, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a higher court judge say anything so disparaging in court about a defendant. Perhaps I’m naive, but I seriously think that comment crosses an ethical line. I’m sure Jamie’s daughter didn’t appreciate having her father talked about in such a derogatory manner by an appellate court judge.
In closing, Tara Thompson did a wonderful job of stressing thoughout the arguments that the new evidence must be looked at cumulatively. And that Brady says we must ask ourselves if the new evidence undermines our confidence in the verdict. We say yes, it does.
Media about this hearing:
WJBC: Attorneys argue merits of witness testimony during murder appeal
The Pantagraph: Snow makes new bid for hearing on DNA testing