DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan appeals court has overturned the involuntary manslaughter conviction of a Detroit-area woman after finding that her lawyer’s defense theory was “scientifically bankrupt.”
The court found many problems with John McWilliams’ work. Jasmine Gordon was charged with failing to prevent the abuse of her 3-year-old daughter who died in September of 2014.
Prosecutors said Jamila died from an infection related to a lacerated pancreas. McWilliams told jurors that she died of natural causes from a brain defect.
But the appeals court pointed out Thursday that no expert testified to support his theory — despite McWilliams telling jurors that he would present an expert. The court says Gordon’s rights were violated because her lawyer’s strategy “amounted to no defense at all.”
McWilliams says the appeals court decision is “embarrassing.” But he insists, “I did my best.”
Gordon was at work when Jamila was injured by what investigators determined was a beating by Clifford Thomas, who was babysitting the child.
Thomas was sentenced in August, 2015, to 57 months to 15 years in prison for the killing.
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