Judge Glenn Thompson responded to the Court of Criminal Appeals almost a week
early. I haven't seen the report, and only know what was in the Daily today (July 24,
2003). From their coverage of it, it appears the judge has gone through the stack of
alleged exculpatory withheld evidence, and the best he could come up with was:
The Bloody Footprint
The Fifth Floppy Disc
The FBI Report.
The Daily makes a "statements from witnesses" reference, but since half the defense's
claims centered to allegedly withheld written sworn statements, I'll have to see the report
before I can comment. About twenty pages of the State's petition are about the alleged
Thompson is apparently saying not only did the State commit offenses, they were
serious enough, in his judgment, to justify turning dwm loose. I don't see how anybody
on either side of this could be happy with that statement.
My gut reaction to it is that Thompson's answer to my question on the Autopsy
Page--as to how he balances Karen's murder against when the defense lawyers got to
see the fifth floppy disc--is that it's a draw.
The seventy-something pieces of alleged evidence allegedly withheld for the press (and
City Council) narrowed to twenty-something in the motion to dismiss or retry the case.
Now there are three.
Here's what the State of Alabama says about the bloody footprint:
Moore contended in paragraph thirteen that he did not know "until the middle of the
trial" that the prosecution had a lift of the "bloody shoe print found in the foyer of
the Tipton home." He stated in the motion that the "State had already offered
testimony of Gloria Walter, their print expert, and during her testimony no reference
was ever made to a a lift of a bloody footprint and/or shoe print." He further stated
in the motion that "the state never conducted any analysis of the shoe print." He
argued that he was denied "the opportunity to conduct investigation in this regard
and thereby again denied his opportunity to a fair and impartial trial."
This particular matter brings with it a certain irony. The document that apprised
Moore of the existence of a footprint or shoe print was a three page crime scene
report that referenced the finding of a shoe print or footprint in the foyer of the
victim's home. At trial, the prosecution questioned Moore's crime scene expert
witness using the report, defense counsel objected claiming that they had never seen
the report. On that basis the trial court sustained defense counsel's objection and
disallowed the prosecution from using the report and the shoe print. Additionally, in
his motion for new trial defense counsel noted that after the trial, they "confirmed
they did receive a copy of the three page report on July 16, 2001." (Emphasis
added.) It should also be noted that the State contends that the defense did have
access to the shoe print and were made aware of it when they reviewed all the prints
collected from the scene at the Decatur Police Department.
Moore has offered no proof of specific prejudice and that is because there is none to
show. Defense counsel had knowledge of the fact that a footprint or shoe print was
found well over a year before the trial started; also, defense counsel examined the
print that was lifted onto the card by the state. They could have asked Ms. Walters
on cross examination whether any tests were done on the shoe print or certainly ask
to have her recalled to the stand so that they could question her about the matter.
Furthermore, defense counsel was able to question other witnesses about the shoe
print. In sum, no prejudice has been established by Moore or identified by the trial
court, hence, the order granting the new trial is without legal or factual basis and
therefore constitutes an abuse of discretion.
|The Bloody Footprint/The Shoe Print Card