Alvarez v. Ercole, No. 13-2828 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, convicted of murder and sentenced to 45 years' imprisonment, was granted a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254 based on his Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause right. The trial court prohibited petitioner from cross-examining a lead detective to show that the police had not investigated leads provided by a witness whose tips were memorialized in a detective's notes and an investigative DD5 report. The court concluded that, taken together, the trial court's evidentiary rulings unreasonably applied clearly established Sixth Amendment law and drastically impaired petitioner's ability to present that defense. The error was not harmless because there was no forensic evidence tying petitioner to the crime. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.