On April 14th, I wrote about a Kentucky prosecution for murder during the midst of which an exculpatory statement was discovered in the truck of a detective and it was made known that the statement was “accidentally” suppressed by the former prosecutor, Tom Van De Rostyne. The man who replaced Van De Rostyne, Commonwealth Attorney Wise, promised an investigation into the suppression.
Turns out, by investigation, he meant “ve vill ask ze qveschuns!”
In a motion filed last week, prosecutors acknowledge that they failed to turn over a summary of an interview with Hammond’s former girlfriend, Princess Bolin, until it was discovered after Bolin had testified, but asked a judge to quash the subpoena seeking testimony from Wine about what happened.
The case ended in a mistrial and the defense has asked that it be dismissed, in part, because of prosecutorial misconduct. A hearing could be held as soon as Wednesday on whether Wine will be called to testify.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dorislee Gilbert said in her motion that, “while it might be inviting to want to know the reason that this happened, the reason it happened is not relevant” to the issue before the court, which is whether the case should move forward to another trial or be dismissed.
It only matters that the evidence was not turned over; the how and why of it is irrelevant because it involves a prosecutor. The fact that the reason for withholding the exculpatory information may lead to other evidence that may have been suppressed has apparently escaped the prosecutor seeking to quash the subpoena.
This attitude is an increasingly prevalent one wherein “the people’s attorneys” are answerable to no one but themselves. When you vest that much power in the hands of people, exculpatory statements naturally find their ways into trucks.