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 The Maher Law Group, APC.
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.