Man Sentenced To Life Gets Sentence Overturned Due To Prosecution Omitting Pertinent Information From Reports

Reports by the police on various crimes and incidents are supposed to be fact and inclusive of all the statements given by witnesses as well as all of the happenings connected to a crime. However, it was due to vital information that was not just left out, but erased from a police report, which resulted in an innocent man being convicted of a crime he did not commit.

The Brooklyn criminal case that saw Wayne Martin wind up behind bars involved the killing of two people in 2010 during a stickup at a tire repair shop in the borough, and a pertinent paragraph was erased from the police report. Failing to share exculpatory information is a serious breach of ethics when it comes to the role of lawyers and prosecutors, but there is little to no accountability for these tactics that may be used to ensure a guilty verdict.

It turns out that the portion of the statement that was left out, involving witness reports, indicated that someone other than Wayne Martin was the gunman. Another report also identified words of an additional witness that stated Martin was not the gunman.

Not one of these reports was made known to Martin or his defense lawyer before he was tried. The accused was then convicted of double homicide and sentenced to life without parole for a murder he did not commit.

The New York Times shares the occurrence recently which saw the guilty verdict finally overturned.

“On Wednesday, Ken Thompson, the Brooklyn district attorney, moved to dismiss all charges against Mr. Martin, as The Daily News reported. Prodded by Mr. Martin’s own legal filings from prison, and by his lawyer, James D. Henning, the district attorney’s office had dug into the case files and found the two documents.”

In this week alone, the New York court system has seen two cases that resulted in a guilty verdict based on information that would absolve the accused of any crime being left out of reports.

[Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images]

A ruling in 1963 by the United States Supreme Court stated that people tried on any criminal charges had a right to any information that would see them cleared of a crime. The case that resulted in this ruling was Brady v. Maryland and stated that information “material” to questions of guilt or punishment should be shared with the defense, a standard which is not as straightforward as it seems.

The NY Times elaborates on the history of the ruling.

“‘The materiality test that Brady sets up is poorly designed,’ said James B. Doyle, a lawyer who has written frequently on miscarriages of justice and what he sees as a misplaced focus on blaming a single person or cause for them.The Brady test relies on individual prosecutors to make a decision — out of sight of anyone else — about whether a piece of information is “material” to the trial. This is like asking baseball pitchers to call balls and strikes, or tennis players to decide if their own serves were in. Mr. Doyle said that prosecutors may have honorable intentions that are eroded by subtle pressures to win trials, excessive fear of losing them or zeal to cinch cases against defendants they are convinced are bad.”

A New York lawyer, Joel B. Rudin, has uncovered lists of cases within which exculpatory information was not admitted in the case, but that resulted in no punishment for the prosecution. He spoke on his findings to the publication.

“Brady violations go to the heart of our criminal justice system. Jurors can’t do their job properly without all information bearing on guilt or innocence or the credibility of witnesses.”

However, one case in which the prosecutor did experience a punishment for withholding information in a case was that of Michael Morton in Texas for the murder of his wife, who was given a life sentence, yet was later proven innocent following the discovery that the prosecutor covered up information that indicated he was innocent. The prosecutor received a sentence of nine days in jail for misconduct, which is near unprecedented, and additionally was disbarred.

Thomson, since taking over as district attorney in Brooklyn, has asked that courts reverse convictions and dismiss charges in 21 cases, including that of Wayne Martin. A spokeswoman for Thompson, Charisma Troiano, shared about these convictions being overturned and what prosecutors can expect from such immoral practices.

“A prosecutor engaged in intentional misconduct faces immediate reprimand, including termination.”

In the case of Wayne Martin, the prosecution stated that he should get the maximum sentence so that there could be no more killings by him. The publication shares that despite Martin being sentenced to life, there were additional murders by the same assailant, but he had nothing to do with them.

[Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images]

Share this article: Man Sentenced To Life Gets Sentence Overturned Due To Prosecution Omitting Pertinent Information From Reports
More from Inquisitr