Even though there’s only been a short holiday week since our last batch of Litigator of the Week Shout Outs landed, we’re already sitting on an impressive haul of results. In the interest of giving all that good litigating its due shine, here’s an early-week, post-Thanksgiving extra helping of Shout Outs.
First up, a big shout out to lawyers at Debevoise & Plimpton for securing the release of Shamel Capers, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 2015 when he was just 16 years old. The Debevoise team was originally retained to handle Capers’ direct appeal but shifted gears after he was consistent and adamant in maintaining his innocence related to a 2013 shooting after a sweet sixteen party at a nightclub in Queens, New York, which killed another teenager. The firm’s subsequent investigation found exculpatory grand jury testimony that was never turned over to Capers’ defense counsel. A key cooperating witness also recanted testimony implicating Capers as the shooter. The Debevoise team presented its findings to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit, which agreed to investigate the case in mid-2020. After the review, prosecutors agreed to vacate the conviction and dismiss the underlying indictment with prejudice. On Nov. 17, after eight years in prison, Capers walked out of court a free man. The Debevoise team representing Capers was led by partner Winston Paes and included associates Jane Chung, Elizabeth Costello, Marissa Kibler, Jonathan Mangel, Anna Rennich and Ben Stadler. Getting Out Staying Out, a reentry program for the formerly incarcerated, brought the case to the firm.