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Pro Bono Victory in Wrongful Conviction Case "People v. Bellamy"

On May 24, 2011, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court affirmed the New York Supreme Court’s decision to vacate Kareem Bellamy’s conviction for second degree murder and grant him a new trial. Mr. Bellamy was convicted of second degree murder in 1995. Cravath agreed to represent him on a pro bono basis in 2005. Following an extensive, two-year investigation of his case, the Cravath team filed a motion to vacate Mr. Bellamy’s conviction. The motion was based on numerous grounds, including newly discovered evidence that he did not commit the murder. In June 2008, after months of evidentiary hearings, the New York Supreme Court vacated Mr. Bellamy’s conviction and granted him a new trial, based primarily on the fact that another man had recently confessed to the murder. In August 2008, after spending over 14 years in prison, Mr. Bellamy was released on bail. In October 2008, the People filed a motion to renew and set aside the court’s decision to vacate Mr. Bellamy’s conviction. The court denied that motion in January 2010, again finding that newly discovered evidence required a new trial. In February 2011, the People appealed the court’s decision to the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. After extensive briefing and lengthy oral argument, the Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s decision in a unanimous order.

The Cravath team included partners Stuart W. Gold, Evan R. Chesler, Darin P. McAtee and Antony L. Ryan and associates Craig A. Batchelor, Lindsay R. Goldstein, Robert A. Miranne and Dashene A. Cooper.