Flores-Rivera v. United States, No. 18-1963 (1st Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion to vacate her federal conviction and sentence on the grounds that her appellate counsel was constitutionally ineffective under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), for failing to raise a claim on direct appeal under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), holding that the district court erred.
Defendant and her co-defendants were convicted of various drug-trafficking offenses. In their direct appeals, Defendant's co-defendants successfully argued that the government's failure to produce several clearly relevant documents that plainly called into question the credibility of the government's key witnesses against Defendant and her co-defendants violated their due process rights under Brady. The First Circuit vacated the co-defendants' convictions and remanded for a new trial. Because Defendant did not raise the Brady violation on her simultaneous appeal, she was denied relief. Thereafter, Defendant brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) Defendant established prejudice under Strickland; and (2) the failure to raise the Brady claim was the result of deficient performance by appellate counsel.