Monday, September 19, 2016
2001 Baltimore Murder Trial With Familiar Prosecutor Involved Brady Violation for Failing to Disclose Interview Records
Here's a pretty interesting story about a 1998 murder in Baltimore.* It involves the trial of "Kenneth D. Perry, 43, who was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 2001 for killing Kelly Bunn and his former girlfriend, LaShawn Jordan, as Jordan's 4-year-old daughter watched." Well, actually, it involves the trial(s) of Perry.
According to the article,
After Perry exhausted his appeals, his attorney filed requests for post-conviction relief and documents associated with the case.
As prosecutor Lisa Phelps began reviewing the files, she discovered records from interviews with the 4-year-old eyewitness, Jewel Williams, in which the girl described her mother's killer as wearing a mask.
After an exhaustive review of documents, Phelps concluded that [prosecutor Cassandra] Costley, who now works for Forster in the public defender's office, never turned the materials over to the defense.
Prosecutors have declined to comment on who conducted the interviews, how many there were, whether Costley - who tried the case - was present for them, and when they were conducted. Vickie Wash, who is no longer with the office, was co-counsel on the case.
Undisclosed listeners should be familiar with the name Vickie Wash for at least 3 reasons. First, she was the prosecutor who had to apologize to Judge Mitchell after falsely claiming at Adnan's bail hearing that there was "a pattern of young Pakistani students who once jilted by their lovers, murdered them and then fled to Pakistan and were unable to be extradited by the U.S. for prosecution." Second, she and Detective MacGillivary went to Woodlawn High School on March 23-24, 1999 to interview several members of the faculty and staff, including soccer coach Karl Brown:
Third, she is currently the Director of the Legal Section of the Baltimore County Police Department, meaning that she is the one responsible for responding to our MPIA requests for information relating to the BCPD investigation of the murder of Hae Min Lee, including the receipt of a CrimeStoppers tip on February 1, 1999.
As for Perry, it appears that the failure to disclose material exculpatory evidence led to him being granted a new trial that occurred in early 2011. An article on that retrial goes into more detail about what was withheld:
As Lisa Phelps...began reviewing the files, she discovered records from interviews with the young eyewitness, in which the girl described her mother's killer as having worn a mask. Phelps concluded that Costley had not turned the transcripts over to the defense, as she was required to do....
During the 2001 trial, Perry's attorney, William Monfried — who has since died — did not ask Jewel about a mask. Phelps, the prosecutor in the retrial, said during an earlier hearing that the bulk of the evidence "was the testimony of young Jewel, and this information could have had an impact on the case had the defense attorney been aware of it."
The result of the retrial, however, was the same: Perry was still convicted of murder. And, in Perry v. State, 56 A.3d 1242 (Md. 2012), his appeal from this subsequent conviction was denied. Unfortunately, the available materials fail to indicate the identity of the people present for the undisclosed interview(s) with Jewel. Maybe we could find this out with a new MPIA request...to Baltimore City.
*Thanks to CreusetController for bringing this to my attention.