Cases & Deals

Insufficient evidence to support Michigan conspiracy conviction results in federal habeas relief

Clients Gill, Stafford Lee

In a significant pro bono victory for a Jones Day client, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a Michigan prisoner represented by the Firm is entitled to federal habeas relief because constitutionally insufficient evidence supports his criminal conviction on a state-law conspiracy charge. The Firm's client, Mr. Stafford Lee Gill, was convicted in Michigan state court of possessing and conspiring to possess 650 grams or more of cocaine. Mr. Gill had been caught packaging roughly 100 grams of crack cocaine together with another man, but his 650-gram convictions depended on linking Mr. Gill and his apparent co-conspirator to a further 630-gram supply of cocaine found elsewhere in the house where the two men were working. Though the federal district court denied a pro se petition by Mr. Gill for federal habeas relief, Jones Day successfully argued on appeal that the 650-gram conspiracy conviction was invalid because no evidence established that Mr. Gill's alleged co-conspirator knew of the 630-gram supply, as required to support the conspiracy conviction under Michigan law. Jones Day associate Zachary Price prepared the briefs and argued the case under the supervision of partner Glen Nager.

Gill v. Carson, 281 F. App'x 522 (6th Cir. 2008)