SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal magistrate on Friday recommended overturning the controversial 2006 conviction of a California man accused of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and plotting an attack in the United States. Hamid Hayat, now 36, who was then a young cherry-picker from Lodi, has served about half his 24-year sentence. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes said he likely never would have been convicted were it not for the inexperience of his defense attorney, who failed to call alibi witnesses.”A reasonably competent attorney would have done more to investigate Hayat’s alibi,” Barnes said in a 116-page opinion.Her recommendation that the conviction be vacated now goes to U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. He presided over Hayat’s original trial, conviction and sentencing and previously rejected a defense motion over whether Hayat was properly represented at trial. Either side can appeal Burrell’s eventual decision.Barnes heard new testimony from witnesses who said Hayat, who was born in California, never had time to receive terror training while visiting relatives and getting married in his ancestral village in Pakistan. Barnes also found that Hayat’s defense attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, should have put on evidence from an expert on false confessions who… Read full this story
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