July 20, 2006

UT: waving the bloody shirt

Here's a real-life predicament worthy of a bar exam question: what happens when defense lawyers find a potential piece of evidence and recover it after police fail to do so? If you answered, "they're booted off the case!," you may be a Utah judge.

From the SLTrib:

Public defenders barred from case because of bloody shirt

Because public defenders found a bloody shirt and took it as evidence after police failed to do so, they will not be allowed to represent a Provo man charged with the murder in the case. Jesus Manuel Holguin-Albo, 27, is charged with first-degree felony murder...

Police collected evidence from the apartment but for some reason left the bloody T-shirt there, said Gunda Jarvis, who was the attorney for Holguin-Albo until Wednesday. The shirt purportedly was used to pick up the knife used to kill Gonzalez.

From the Desperate News:

Lawyers barred in Provo case

Debate over a forgotten bloody shirt moved a judge to exclude lawyers from the Utah County Public Defender Association from representing a Provo man accused of murder.

1 Comment:

Lawgirl said...

I don't know if you will see this comment since your blog was written so long ago, but maybe you will, thus I write.
I am the public defender who was removed from the case, and believe me, I went kicking and screaming, even filed an interlocutory appeal, and yet, I am not on the best murder case ever, the one that I would have won. But that is not the point of this comment.
I just thought you would find it interesting that the defense moved to have the County Attorney recused from the case because the main attorney was a potential witness, along with me, to a deposition where I got to devour the real murderer. Well, the judge granted the defense motion, I felt like saying to the prosecutor, "Karma's a bitch, isn't it." Good thing I didn't, they filed a "Motion to Reconsider" (which they still haven't figured out doesn't exist in criminal law in Utah), and guess what, the judge reversed himself! Yep, wouldn't let the public defender keep the case, but the Nazi-like State prosecutor, sure they can stay on the case.
The saddest part about this whole case isn't that I didn't get to try the case and win, the defendant is still in custody, I would have tried that case long ago, but because of the system, he is still in jail. And, the real murderer, the one who lied during the deposition (as a State witness), was arrested for lying, well, he was deported right before a crucial hold could be placed to stop deportation. Yep, due process, innocent until proven guilty, not in Utah County.