Filed on March 4th, 2022
Charles Don Flores is again endeavoring to be heard by the highest court in the United States after the state courts refused to consider all the new evidence demonstrating his wrongful conviction and factual innocence.
The State obtained Charles Don Flores’s conviction based primarily on a mid-trial, in-court “identification,” made for the first time thirteen months after the crime as he sat at the defense table. Flores did not match this witness’s initial descriptions of the perpetrators in any respect, a fact kept from the defense for nearly two decades. Her “identification” was made after the police had subjected her to “forensic hypnosis” and then shown her a highly suggestive photo line-up featuring Flores from which she failed to pick him out. She then saw his photo repeatedly in the news. After years during which Flores had no counsel, and after his execution was stayed to pursue a claim narrowly focused on the issue of “forensic hypnosis,” Flores unearthed considerable evidence related to this eleventh-hour “identification” and of extensive police and prosecutorial misconduct that had long been suppressed. When he submitted a subsequent state habeas application delineating the vast support for his Brady, false testimony, and actual innocence claims, the state court arbitrarily concluded that all of his new claims were barred on procedural grounds and refused to consider their merits—even though the evidence had been unavailable when Flores initiated his previous habeas proceeding.
The Questions Presented are:
- Is the right to due process violated when a death-sentenced individual is barred from developing substantial habeas claims by the arbitrary application of state procedural law?
- Is the fact that the State successfully suppressed Brady material for two decades a legitimate basis for denying a habeas applicant, who is actually innocent, the right to be heard?