A judge has been asked to throw out a gang-related shooting case originating
in Fairfield after it was discovered that the prosecution may have intentionally
hid evidence from the defense. Due to the complexity and delicateness
of the matter, Judge Robert Bowers has opted to hold off on the decision
until February. The two men accused of fatally shooting a teenager in
2014 have pleaded not guilty, and one of them is represented by Attorney
Vincent Maher of Maher, & Chikhani A Professional Law Corporation.
Hidden Evidence Undermines Entire Case Validity
The complications began after a newly-introduced prosecutor found that
her predecessor, who no longer was working on the case, struck two deals
with eyewitnesses and potential suspects to gain information about the
shooting. The first deal was a plea bargain hammered out with one of the
accused, granting him lessened charges in exchange for a testimony and
incriminating information against the other defendants. The second deal
was struck with the girlfriend of one of the accusers. The problem? Her
testimony did not match up with the information given by the individual
who took the plea bargain.
After her conversation with prosecutors and investigators was recorded,
it was put aside. Prosecutors would allow it to sit shelved for more than
two years before ever bringing it to the attention of the defense counsel.
In fact, it was not shared with the defense until a mere few weeks before
the first jury trial was scheduled to begin. It is believed the prosecution
may have intentionally hidden the evidence because it counteracted their
own arguments and weakened the believability of the statements made by
the plea bargain suspect. One prosecutor claimed it was not shared because
it would jeopardize the safety of the suspect’s girlfriend.
The Future is Just as Uncertain
At this point, it is believed that Judge Bowers will not entirely throw
out the murder charges based solely on this concealed evidence. Instead,
it is more likely that another probable cause hearing will be scheduled
and include the words of the suspect’s girlfriend, along with that
of the suspect that accepted the plea bargain. This could potentially
lead to new, lesser charges or improve the defense’s chances of
a successful jury trial.
Be sure to regularly
visit our blog for any critical updates to this case that Attorney Vincent Maher is handling.
If you would like the legal assistance of one of our Fairfield criminal
defense lawyers, you are encouraged to
contact our firm today.