Sunday, August 14, 2005

On the upcoming W.D. Va. capital murder case

In U.S. v. Bodkins, Judge Conrad ruled on a variety of interesting issues in the case of two defendant charged with some kind of capital murder case. The Court agreed to allow defendants some additional peremptory strikes, depending on the size of the jury pool. The Court announced that the questioning of the jury on death penalty issues would be done in groups of three. The Court agreed to warn the jurors not to read about the case on the Internet (including, I suppose, in places like this blog). The Court refused to exclude evidence of a statement by the decedent to his girlfriend, made a half hour before he was shot and reported to authorities a day or two later. The Court rejected the defendants' arguments that their out-of-court, non-testimonial hearsay statements implicating each other should not be admitted, applying Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56 (1980), Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (1968), and Lilly v. Virginia, 527 U.S. 116 (1999). The Court denied the defendant's motion for severance. The Court refused to order production of redacted presentence reports on other witnesses.

The Lynchburg paper has this article bout the case, which says that the trial scheduled for four weeks will begin on Monday in Lynchburg. According to the article, in the case, the government "accuses a Danville man of hiring two Tennessee men to murder a Danville man he believed to be a police informant." The two defendants facing the death penalty are from Johnson City.

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