8 years ago, Neil Rockind worked on a murder case at the preliminary examination stage. Neil argued that there was insufficient evidence upon which to find the defendant guilty at a trial. The district court judge agreed and dismissed the case. The prosecution appealed that decision to the circuit court, which affirmed the lower court opinion. Despite two denials, the prosecution wouldn’t let it go – they appealed to the Court of Appeals, who reversed and remanded for trial. At a 2-day bench trial (that Neil was not a part of) the defendant was found guilty of murder, despite the lack of a body, the lack of any physical evidence, the lack of any witnesses and the lack of a confession. In other words, his conviction rested solely upon circumstantial evidence, which included some variances in the defendant’s story.
Yesterday, the Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and remanded for acquittal. In doing so, the Court of Appeals made the exact same legal arguments that Neil had made 8 years prior. Neil got it right. He almost always does.