Congratulations to Doug Trant for his monumental post-conviction efforts at overturning a murder and assault conviction in Grundy County, Tennessee. In a rare Christmas Day Order, Judge Justin Angel voided the conviction which had previously been handed down by a Grundy County jury in November 2007 against Mr. Adam Braseel. Mr. Braseel was accused in the brutal beating death of Malcom Burrows and the assault of Mr. Burrow’s sister and nephew.
Mr. Braseel, now 32 years old, had offered a strong alibi defense in his original 2007 trial and the State of Tennessee offered no DNA evidence, no murder weapon and no clear motive. What the State did offer, however, was two highly questionable eyewitness identifications, neither of which was challenged by Mr. Braseel’s defense lawyers at trial. At the Post-conviction hearing held on November 17, 2015, Mr. Trant vehemently argued that neither identification was reliable, nor admissible under the law. Furthermore, he stressed the fact that such inadmissible evidence was the only substantive proof the state had offered against Mr. Braseel. In the Christmas Day Order, Judge Angel agreed with Mr. Trant’s analysis that neither identification should have been admitted, thus ordering that Mr. Braseel did not receive effective representation of counsel from his original trial attorneys in violation of his 6th Amendment right.
Pursuant to the Judge’s Order, Mr. Braseel, who has been wrongfully incarcerated for more than eight years, is now subject to being released from prison, although the state could choose to retry him sometime in the future. Congratulations again to both Doug Trant and the entire Braseel family.