June 20, 2018
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
(FEL-1057-85). (Hon. Todd E. Edelman, Motions Judge).
Valinda Jones, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom
Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman,
Mark A. Aziz, and Eric Hansford, Assistant United States
Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellant.
Wang, Public Defender Service, with whom Samia Fam and
Jonathan Anderson, Public Defender Service, were on the
brief, for appellee.
Judges: Before BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, Chief
Judge, and BECKWITH and EASTERLY, Associate Judges.
Chief Judge :
27, 1986, a jury found appellee Derrie Nelson guilty of
felony murder while armed of Robert Nichols, assault with
intent to kill while armed (" AWIKWA" ) and armed
kidnapping of a second victim, Leonard Kelly, first-degree
burglary while armed, and carrying a pistol without a license
(" CPWL" ). Nelson was thereafter
sentenced to forty-two years to life in prison. On direct
appeal, we vacated Nelson's armed burglary conviction as
duplicative of the felony murder but affirmed the remainder
of his convictions. In 2015, Nelson moved to
vacate all of his convictions and for a new trial, pursuant
to D.C. Code § 23-110 (2012 Repl.) and Napue v.
Illinois, 360 U.S. 264, 79 S.Ct. 1173, 3 L.Ed.2d 1217
(1959), claiming that the government presented false and
misleading evidence — expert testimony on hair fiber
comparison — that prejudiced his trial and violated his
constitutional right to due process. The trial court vacated
Nelson's convictions, finding that the government
violated Nelson's due process rights by presenting false
and misleading expert testimony, and ordered a new trial. The
government appeals the trial court's order. The
government is only appealing the trial court's decision
to vacate Nelson's convictions for AWIKWA, armed
kidnapping, and CPWL. The government concedes that the hair
fiber comparison testimony was false, but maintains that it
was not material to Nelson's conviction for the
aforementioned charges. We affirm.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
A. The Trial
underlying facts of this case are recited fully in
Nelson, supra note 2, 601 A.2d at 585-91, so we
summarize them only in relevant part here. At trial, the
government's evidence showed that Nelson shot and killed
Robert Nichols and tried to kill Leonard Kelly in the late
evening and early morning hours of February 12 and 13, 1985.
Nelson's motive for Nichols's murder was unclear.
Nelson had lived in Kelly's house for a short time, from