Friday, January 21, 2005

Fifteen years, 4 jury trials, and millions of dollars later

In U.S. v. Ealy, Chief Judge Jones denied the motion of Samuel Stephen Ealy, who sought relief from his federal court conviction in connection with the Pocahontas murders, after his alleged co-conspirators were acquitted in a separate trial.

The opinion concludes:

"It is ironic that Ealy was first acquitted in state court by blaming the murders on Church and Church was thereafter acquitted in federal court after blaming the murders on Ealy. Fifteen years after the murders, and four jury trials later, Ealy ends up being the only person held criminally responsible for killing the Davis family.
Depending on one’s point of view, the course of the case is a galling example of the vagaries and inconsistencies of our system. On the other hand, it may also be seen as an ultimate triumph of a system that tries hard to make sure that in the end, justice to both victim and the accused is obtained."

In a footnote, the Court adds:

"And after the expenditure of millions of dollars. See United States v. Church, No. 1:00CR00104, 2004 WL 2790598, at *3 (W.D. Va. Nov. 24, 2004) (detailing defense costs paid overall in case under the Criminal Justice Act)."

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