In one of the most bizarre and horrific criminal cases in recent memory, four teenagers were convicted of repeatedly raping a Dunbar woman and forcing her to have sex with her twelve-year-old son. Two of the young men were convicted and sentenced to 60-year sentences.
The teenagers had initially received life sentences, but a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision made it unlawful for juveniles to serve life sentences without the possibility of parole. Hence why the judge sentenced Nathan Walker and Jakaris Taylor to 60 years. There were, however, eight other young men involved in the attack, which prosecutors say, lasted for hours.
Now, there is a question as to whether prosecutors improperly withheld evidence and whether this revelation would warrant a new trial for the perpetrators.
Statement of Tommy Poindexter
At the heart of their appeal is the question of whether or not prosecutors disclosed a 100-page transcript of Tommy Poindexter’s statement. Poindexter was trying to negotiate a plea agreement with the state, ostensibly, for testimony against Walker and Taylor. The fact that this testimony was not disclosed to defense attorneys is a problem. But is the problem big enough to warrant a new trial?
In order to overturn the verdict, the defense must show that the withholding of this evidence had a material impact on the verdict. In other words, this information was so important that it would have changed the jury’s mind in a significant way, resulted in reduced charges against the two young men given 60-year sentences, or otherwise exonerated them from the crime entirely.
Exoneration seems unlikely in this case, but the two men serving 60-year sentences were fingered as ringleaders and if that doesn’t turn out to be true, then it may warrant sending the case to a new jury. Remember, these two teenagers were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole based on assertions that they were more culpable than the others.
Meanwhile, Poindexter is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Does the Fact that the Prosecution Didn’t Turn This Over Imply a Smoking Gun?
Many would assume that the fact that the prosecution did not turn this evidence over to defense attorneys would indicate that there is something compromising in the transcript that could impact the trial. This was a huge deal on social media and made national headlines because of the sheer heinousness of the crime. Prosecutors were under the spotlight to convict men that they knew were at the scene of the crime. They wanted to ensure that these men were put away for as long as possible.
If it turns out that the prosecution cut corners to do that, then defendants may indeed be granted a new trial, particularly because of their age and the length of their sentences.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with a violent crime, let the experienced West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. defend you from the charges.