Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's office says officials should - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's office says officials shouldn't have to testify about possible misconduct

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- While the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office acknowledges that it appears evidence was “intentionally” removed from a file given to defense attorneys in a murder case, the office does not believe officials should have to testify as to how that occurred.

Murder defendant Dejuan Hammond has subpoenaed Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Thomas Wine, as well as the lead detective in the case and a former prosecutor to testify as to why certain evidence was not disclosed until during his murder trial in April, five years after investigators first obtained the evidence.

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.

There currently is no explanation for how the investigative summary of Bolin’s interview went years without being turned over to the defense and “the good or bad faith of the prosecutor who filed” the evidence originally does not change the fact that it was improperly withheld, Gilbert added.

She said a hearing with Wine, the former prosecutor, Tom Van De Rostyne and the detective in the case, Louisville Metro Police Detective Roy Stalvey, would only allow Hammond’s defense to “make irrelevant accusations in person against the former prosecutor.”

The failure of officials to turn the evidence over, for whatever reason, “should not rob the people of this Commonwealth the right to justice,” Gilbert wrote, adding that the “alleged prosecutorial misconduct” does not warrant dismissal of the case. The evidence, she said, has been turned over and would only help Hammond in a future trial.

Ted Shouse, an attorney for Hammond, said he was upset that Wine was trying to avoid testifying as to how his office messed up.

"How dare we ask questions about how this happened," Shouse said after a brief hearing Monday.

Wine said in April that his office will look at all pending criminal cases that were assigned to Van De Rostyne to determine if there was any evidence not turned over to defense attorneys.

"We are going to make sure there are no other time bombs out there," Wine said shortly after the Jefferson Circuit Court judge declared a mistrial in the Hammond case because of the discovered evidence.

Shouse said he would like to know what has happened with that investigation.

Gilbert said in an interview that she did not know where the investigation stood and Wine could not be reached for comment.

Judge Angela McCormick Bisig declared a mistrial in the murder trial of Hammond on April 15, a day after Hammond's defense team complained of "prosecutorial misconduct," saying investigators had for years had the summary of Bolin’s interview.

In August 2009, several months after Sheckles' murder, Bolin told Stalvey she knew nothing of the murder and had been at the Jefferson Mall with Hammond when Sheckles was shot to death in Shelby Park.

Defense attorneys accused Van De Rostyne of not only not turning over the evidence, but of purposefully hiding it and keeping it from attorneys because it contained exculpatory information. 

Wine fired Van De Rostyne after he was elected in 2012. Van De Rostyne had run against Wine and lost in the primary.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Lesousky, one of the prosecutors now handling the case, took the blame for not finding the summary and turning it over.

Van De Rostyne, now with the Attorney General's office, has declined to comment.

Leland Hulbert, a spokesman for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, has said the office talked with Van De Rostyne and he didn't remember how it happened, noting there were hundreds of pages in the file.  

Bisig seemed most troubled by the fact that the interview with Bolin included a possible alibi for Hammond.

But Gilbert said that if the alibi is true, and Hammond was a the mall, he would know it and be able to tell his attorneys, without having to get it from an old interview.

Other interviews in which Bolin pointed the finger at Hammond were turned over to the defense.

Defense attorneys Ted Shouse and Annie O'Connell have said their questioning of Bolin and entire defense likely would have been different if that interview had been properly given to attorneys. 

Prosecutors have said a co-defendant, Steven Pettway, was acting at the behest of Dejuan Hammond, because Sheckles had agreed weeks earlier to testify against Lloyd in the 2006 murder of her boyfriend and two other men.

Bolin testified in May at the Pettway trial that Hammond sent her into Shelby Park to look for a woman and report back to him shortly before Sheckles was killed.

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