The law professor said Ravenell's motion points to two "very legitimate" appeals issues, a detective vouching for Stokes' credibility, which he said is for the jury alone to assess, and the repeated mention of other possible victims.

"One could argue that it's asking too much of a jury to have them pretend they did not hear that," Warnken said.

Troubling testimony

In the motion, Ravenell points to the testimony of Lt. Frederick V. Roussey as being a particular problem.

Roussey, now the police union president, was a detective in the child abuse unit when he interviewed Stokes as a 17-year-old in 1993, when his allegations against Blackwell first surfaced.

Roussey testified that he found Stokes to be "credible," which Ravenell noted in the motion is a question for the jury, not for individual witnesses. Roussey also testified that he'd interviewed "other possible victims" of Blackwell during the investigation.

Charges of 'an agenda'

Detective Shawn Harrison and Stokes also mentioned the possibility of other victims in their testimony.

"Detective Roussey and Detective Harrison ... testified with an agenda - to ensure that the jury heard what they wanted to say - that the defendant had a propensity to commit this type of crime," the motion states.

On the day the two detectives testified, Ravenell asked three times for a mistrial.

Berger denied those requests but instructed the jury to disregard the detectives' statements about other possible victims.

A day later, Berger held a hearing during which he threatened to hold Roussey and Harrison in contempt of court for their conduct on the stand and in front of television cameras.

"I am concerned, deeply, that there has been testimony from three witnesses about other victims," Berger said during the hearing. "I have tried to address that appropriately. I have failed."

Berger said he would make a ruling on the contempt issue after Blackwell is sentenced.

In interviews the evening after the verdict, two of the 12 jurors said they did not consider the detectives' comments about other victims during their deliberations.

Most jurors declined to comment.

"It wasn't about the others," juror Anthony C. Long said at the time. Juror Valerie S. Cunningham said she had "no knowledge" of any juror who was swayed by what the detectives said about other victims.

The law professors said the other issues raised by Ravenell in the motion for a new trial, such as Stokes' family's conduct and the television interviews of witnesses, aren't as egregious but still may have contributed to an overall atmosphere of unfairness.

"If you have a long list of the kinds of problems this trial had," Dash said, "each one adds a little weight to the scale."