Conley v. Commonwealth

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Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's conviction and sentence for the murder of her mother and remanded this case for a new trial, holding that the trial court's application of the principles in Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985), led to errors that required that the circuit court's judgment be vacated and a new trial held.

Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) under the circumstances of this case, the trial court should have summarily granted funds for a defense examination pursuant to Ake; (2) the trial court by permitting the Commonwealth to have access to a Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center (KCPC) criminal responsibility report written by Dr. Amy Trivette, a KCPC staff member; and (3) testimony elicited by the Commonwealth that overemphasized the insanity defense terminology was improper. The Court then remanded the case for a new trial.