DC COURT OF APPEALS ORDERS NEW TRIAL FOR SINISTER BRADY/GIGLIO VIOLATIONS

Judge EasterlyIn an exhaustive indictment of government discovery and Brady/Giglio gamesmanship, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Judge Catherine Friend Easterly [great judicial name], recently ordered a new trial for DC Inmate Carl Morton in United States v. Vaughn et al. Morton and co-defendant Alonzo Vaughn were convicted for (1) aggravated assault and (2) assault on a law enforcement officer in connection with an incident at the D.C. Jail in which a group of men attacked a fellow inmate and a corrections officer who came to that inmate’s aid. Unbeknownst to either defendant, the government’s, Assistant United States Attorneys Mary Chris Dobbie and Reagan Taylor, primary and strongest identifying witness, presented to the jury as “Officer” Angelo Childs, had recently been adjudged to have made demonstrably false allegations regarding an earlier inmate assault. “Officer” Childs was subsequently demoted from Lieutenant to Sergeant as a result of that false testimony.

In a Department of Corrections Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) “Final Report,” Childs and other officers were shown to have falsely reported a separate incident regarding alleged inmate assault.  In the relevant portion of this report — which the government suppressed — the investigator concluded that Childs’ report was, in fact,  contradicted by video footage taken of the scene. Instead of turning the entirety of the report over to defendants, or to the court, the government prosecutors strategically excised the damning portions and submitted only the innocuous and inconclusive portions (sound familiar):

the government submitted to the trial court ex parte what it said was the OIA Final Report, but in fact was only the first five pages of the ten-page report (and included none of the documents in the appendix, 76 pages in all). The first five pages of the OIA Final Report contain “background” information, investigative notes, and a full reproduction of Officer Childs‟s account of an inmate assault in his Incident Report without any indication that that account was being questioned; the findings adverse to Officer Childs begin on the sixth page.

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FEDERAL JUDGE SUA SPONTE ORDERS NEW TRIAL FOR BRADY VIOLATIONS

indexIn an unusual and virtually unprecedented opinion,  US v. Garner et al, No. 2_11_CR_00038 (N.D. Miss. July 15, 2014), Judge Neal Biggers of the Northern District of Mississippi sua sponte acknowledged his prior elision of arguments that the government, Assistant United States Attorneys’ Clayton A. Dabbs and Robert J. Mims, engaged in constitutional and statutory violations at trial, and sua sponte granted defendants a new trial for Brady violations.

After the trial, which alleged federal crimes arising from a bribe and kickback scheme involving a community hospital, Judge Biggers entered judgments of acquittal and alternately motions for new trials for defendants Earnest Levi Garner and Raymond Lamont Shoemaker. On the government’s appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed, reinstated the jury verdicts of guilty and remanded for resentencing. On remand, the district court noted that its prior grant of the alternate new trial motions did not address defendants’ claims of Brady violations but instead relied on a separate legal issue related to “agency” (as to the hospital) and the related jury instructions. Nor did the government address the Brady issues in its appeal to the Fifth Circuit, “ostensibly since the [] court had not ruled on them.” Because the court “did not grant the defendants a ruling on the Brady claims,” and despite the peculiar procedural posture, the court determined that “to refuse to rule on these constitutional claims now would be a denial of due process and contrary to the interests of justice.”

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