Hanging By a Thread: Cameron’s Diminishing Appeal Hopes Hinge on the Seat Belt Evidence
Sunday, June 16th, 2019 @ 7:34PM
Yes, Cameron is out. But his fight is not yet over. On Monday, June 17th, he will be filing his federal habeas appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This is the second-to-last appeal available to Cameron in the course of the habeas proceedings, with only the United States Supreme Court waiting beyond this stage.
The stakes have never been higher. The chances of success in the Supreme Court are essentially nil for everybody, so this is basically a must-win for Cameron.
This latest appeal comes on the heels of the Richmond federal district court’s March 26th denial of Cameron’s habeas petition. The court issued a 133-page opinion in support of the rejection, but its length was hardly an indication of its legal or factual accuracy. As usual, the court had to commit numerous errors of fact and law in order to reach the conclusion that Cameron was not entitled to a new trial. And also as usual, Cameron has precisely carved up those errors in his appeal of another bogus decision.
There is, however, one significant difference about the present appeal that sets it apart from Cameron’s previous work. Whereas Cameron’s petitions and appeals are typically lengthy on account of just how many violations were committed in his case, he has narrowed this one down to just 28 pages. So, why is this one so concise? Simple. After more than a decade of struggling for truth and justice, this case now boils down to one piece of evidence: the seat belt. Whatever remote chance for victory that remains for Cameron, it will rise or fall on this one crucial focus.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the case, or even for those who might need a refresher, the seat belt evidence scientifically proves that Cameron was not driving. Dr. David Pape inspected the driver’s seat belt back in 2012 and determined that the belt was in use at the time of the collision. This continues to stand in stark contrast with the overwhelming evidence that Cameron was not belted for the crash. In fact, the evidence at trial showing that Cameron wasn’t belted was so clear and convincing that the Commonwealth never even challenged that assertion.
Unfortunately for Cameron, he didn’t get Dr. Pape’s report until after he was already convicted. His trial attorney, Andrew Sacks, neglected to retain an expert to carry out the examination despite constant pleas from Cameron to do so. That failing earned him a ruling from the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2017 dubbing his representation deficient. Now, Cameron’s claims of innocence and ineffective assistance of counsel are his last legs on habeas, and they both revolve around the seat belt evidence.
Cameron had little to add for this update, telling us only that he feels this is his moment. Although he realizes he stands little statistical chance to succeed, he still has confidence in what’s right and in his skills as a student of the law. He also promised that he is working on ways to turn his experience into something that can be beneficial to others who have been wrongfully convicted.
The appeal is being posted along with this update. Please take the time to read it. The document entitled “Appeal” contains the substance of the appeal, while the other links are for the cover page and insets. Until victory always!