Very Brady: Inmate Scheduled for Execution May Have Had Rights Violated After All

Let's get back to Kim's item about Roderick Newton, scheduled to be executed by the state on Thursday, for just a minute. And let's go ahead and set aside the issue of  "mental retardation." Instead, focus on the second of three claims Newton's attorneys make in the writ filed today -- the one that alleges a so-called Brady violation, which refers to the burying of exculpatory evidence. It would appear that very thing happened when Newton was being tried for the murder of Jesus Montoya in March 1999.

According to the writ filed by attorneys David Finn and Clint Broden, Julian Williams -- who was with Newton when Montoya was killed -- met with Dallas County District Attorney's Office representatives only days ago. During that interview with Terri Moore and Mike Ware, Williams -- who testified at trial against Newton and received 10 years for his role in the crime -- told them he gave a statement to a Mesquite detective that was never admitted into evidence during the original trial in 2000. In that statement, included in today's filing, Williams acknowledged that it was he who pawned Montoya's necklace, not Newton.

Finn tells Unfair Park that Assistant District Attorney Kim Schaefer actually found the missing statement -- not in the District Attorney's files, but in the detective's. Included in today's filing is a July 10 e-mail from Moore to Finn and Broder in which she acknowledges, "We believe the defense never had the information. Therefore, there is a Brady violation." Unfair Park has been unsuccessful in reaching anyone in Craig Watkins' office this evening, but we will have something further in the morning.

"I gotta give Craig Watkins and Terri Moore credit," Finn says. "The way this Brady violation came about, they could have played hide the ball, and they didn't, which is a credit to the DA's office. They could have tried to bury this. ... I fully expect the Criminal Court of Appeals will postpone the execution, and we'll go back to court and fight it out."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky