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Friedman v. Rehal, No. 08-0297

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By FindLaw Staff on August 17, 2010 9:34 AM

In Friedman v. Rehal, No. 08-0297, a sexual abuse prosecution, the court affirmed the denial of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that 1) the fact that hypnosis may have been used to stimulate alleged victims' memory recall and potentially induce false memories of abuse was a circumstance that would fit comfortably under the general understanding of impeachment evidence -- evidence that "is offered to discredit a witness . . . to reduce the effectiveness of [her] testimony by bringing forth evidence which explains why the jury should not put faith in [her] or [her] testimony"; and 2) even if hypnosis evidence comes within Brady's broader definition of exculpatory evidence, the petition would still have to be denied.

As the court wrote:  "This is an appeal from the denial of a writ of habeas corpus in a case in which petitioner who pled guilty seeks habeas corpus relief on the ground that exculpatory evidence was withheld from him. Because his petition was not filed timely, he also argues that his failure to do so should be excused on the ground that he is actually innocent. We affirm the judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Seybert, J.) denying the writ without reaching the latter issues, because we conclude that the grounds asserted in the petition would not justify habeas corpus relief."

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