Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yogurt Shop Murders: today's joint hearing, part 1

Michael Scott’s defense lawyers have filed a motion requesting that Judge Lynch approve two New York lawyers, Robert Romano and Martha Stolley of the NYC branch of the firm Morgan Lewis, as part of their defense team. After some discussion about logistics and an objection by the state, Lynch seemed satisfied that granting the request would not result in any delays. Lynch said he would review the motion, not ruling from the bench, but that he is likely to grant it.

Scott’s lawyer Dexter Gilford explained that because the case is complicated and there are “at least five forensic issues” involved, he and co-lead attorney Carlos Garcia welcomed the pro bono help, adding that having these lawyers’ expertise would likely eliminate the need for them to ask Lynch to approve taxpayer money for experts. Nothing more specific about Romano’s and Stolley’s areas of expertise was revealed because of trial strategy, however, Garcia later said that Romano had been working on this for a year.

Judge Lynch and the prosecutors had not yet had time to review it, but Robert Springsteen’s lawyers recently filed a new writ of Habeas corpus, and similar motions will soon be filed for Scott, too. Lynch said he anticipates hearing evidence re the basis of the writ and would like to set that hearing date ASAP, for now March 4th. Springsteen’s lawyer, Alexandra Gauthier, told Lynch that they have “very important (DNA) results” to turn over to the state and will be able to do so very soon.

Gauthier wants the hearing scheduled sooner than March 4th because, defense lawyers contend, new testing reveals that DNA from at least two unknown males was present in three of the four victims, and no DNA or any physical evidence from Springsteen or Scott (or the other two original defendants, Maurice Pierce and Forrest Wellborn) was ever discovered at the crime scene. And all this means that prosecutors have the wrong guys and that their clients should be released--the DNA results exonerate them--according to the defense teams.

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