April 15, 2024
Paul Gentile Smith, left, in 2021. Picture credit score: Display shot, ABC7.com

Prosecutors mentioned a homicide defendant can nonetheless obtain a good trial and his case shouldn’t be thrown out even when he claims he was the sufferer of governmental misconduct.

The competition, revealed Friday in a courtroom submitting, was challenged by Paul Gentile Smith’s lawyer.

Subsequent week, a San Diego County Superior Court docket decide will think about a request from Smith, 63, of Seal Seashore, for an evidentiary listening to into allegations that his rights had been violated in his first trial for the 1988 deadly stabbing of Robert Haugen, 29, in Sundown Seashore.

The Orange County District Lawyer’s Workplace sought to keep away from such a listening to, conceding that the defendant didn’t get a good trial in 2010, and agreeing to a retrial. Now Smith’s lawyer, Scott Sanders of the Orange County Public Defender’s Workplace, is pushing to have the costs dropped.

The case was reassigned to San Diego County Superior Court docket Decide Daniel B. Goldstein final yr.

Senior Deputy District Lawyer Seton Hunt argued in a short filed final week that Goldstein “ought to deny the request for an evidentiary listening to as a result of, as a matter of legislation, even when the courtroom presumed, arguendo, that each one of defendant’s allegations of misconduct had been correct descriptions of what occurred – the suitable treatment could be a brand new trial and the exclusion of any proof from informants. The Individuals have already agreed to those cures and the defendant can obtain a good retrial.”

Sanders additionally represented Scott Dekraai when he pressured a recusal of the Orange County District Lawyer’s Workplace from prosecuting his consumer in a homicide case that unraveled a jailhouse informant scandal.

Dekraai, who had been going through the demise penalty in a 2011 mass taking pictures, finally pleaded responsible and was sentenced to life in jail with out the opportunity of parole. Sanders cited the Dekraai case and prosecutors’ denials relating to the informant allegations, in his response to Hunt.

“Ten years in the past this month we filed a movement to dismiss within the Dekraai case alleging a hidden jailhouse informant operation that systematically violated constitutional rights. The D.A.’s workplace responded by attacking the allegations as unreliable hypothesis and unfair private assaults,” he mentioned. “The trial courtroom, Court docket of Enchantment and the Division of Justice agreed we obtained it proper. But right here we’re at this time going through an almost an identical response after submitting an in depth movement laying out essentially the most egregious misconduct of your entire scandal.”

Sanders filed a movement in September alleging that Smith’s first prosecutor, Ebrahim Baytieh – now an Orange County Superior Court docket decide – violated Smith’s rights in the best way he used informants to win a conviction.

Baytieh was fired by District Lawyer Todd Spitzer shortly after prosecutors conceded the retrial for Smith and cited Baytieh’s alleged failure to share proof about his use of informants.

Hunt conceded that interviews of two informants weren’t turned over to protection attorneys earlier than Smith’s first trial, however, he added, prosecutors “don’t concede this was purposeful or that there was a conspiracy to violate defendant’s Sixth Modification rights.”

He added that the “overwhelming majority of defendant’s movement doesn’t even contain this case, however somewhat seems to be a private assault on the integrity of the earlier trial prosecutor typically. Nonetheless, even when any nondisclosure of knowledge relating to informants earlier than the primary trial was purposeful, it might not prejudice defendant within the retrial as no proof relating to any informant shall be introduced by the individuals within the retrial.”

After Smith’s conviction for killing Haugen, he pleaded responsible to soliciting an assault on Orange County Sheriff’s Division Sgt. Raymond Wert for his work on the case, however prosecutors moved to dismiss these prices in August 2022.

Baytieh additionally got here underneath fireplace in a Division of Justice report sparked by the informant scandal in Dekraai’s case. Sanders alleges that prosecutors and sheriff’s investigators illegally used jailhouse snitches to collect incriminating statements used to convict Smith and others.

Informants can be utilized in some instances to legally collect incriminating info, however not after defendants are represented by an lawyer, as was the case with Smith.

– Metropolis Information Service