Kimble v. Warden, Illinois State Prison
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Third Division
December 15, 1996
This matter comes before the court on an appeal from the denial of respondent’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner, convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to death, claims that he satisfies the narrow “actual innocence” gateway for habeas relief. More specifically, petitioner claims that newly discovered evidence unerringly points the finger of guilt at two other culprits–Dr. Charles Nichols and Frederick Sykes, a “one-armed man.”
For the reasons related below, we grant the writ. We find that Kimble has adduced “new, material, noncumulative” evidence that would “probably change the result on retrial,” People v. Washington, 171 Ill.2d 475, 489 (1996). We reject the prosecution’s arguments that the evidence (1) could and should, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, have been discovered prior to defendant’s trial; (2) fails to adequately impeach the verdict, insofar as the petitioner’s evidence (according to the prosecution) presents only the possibility of an improbable, self-defeating scheme to release onto the market a new drug that would invariably generate an onslaught of crippling products-liability lawsuits.
In an unpublished order also issued today, we reject respondent’s petition as to his separate, subsequent convictions for escape, theft, auto theft, reckless driving, brandishing a firearm at a federal officer, false personation, and criminal trespass, for which he was sentenced to a total of 10 additional years in custody.