Prosecutors' mistakes could allow accused murderer to walk free
Miguel Martinez is accused of shooting and killing Laura Carter in 2015.
In February, the case ended in a mistrial stemming from allegations a "second chair prosecutor had once had a sexual encounter with the star witness" in Martinez's case.
Now, the charges against Martinez could all be dropped.
Laura Carter's family sat in the front row each day of the February trial, but the trial didn’t get too far before defense attorneys called for a mistrial.
"The argument we are making is that this case is jeopardy barred because the state basically laid behind the law and did not reveal evidence until after the jury was selected,” said Defense Attorney Joe Gonzales.
Defense attorneys say they were made aware of a prosecutor who had a sexual relationship with one of their key witness after the jury was set.
"A one time sexual encounter three years before a witness is even a witness in a case is not material to a case plain and simple,” said District Attorney Nico LaHood.
Martinez's defense attorney disagreed.
"When someone from the district attorney's office chooses not to disclose evidence that is 'Brady,' evidence that tends to be favorable to the accused, they have an obligation to disclose it. Clearly in this case, they sat on it for two years,” said Gonzales.
According to a motion filed earlier this year, LaHood threatened to end Gonzales’s practice after being asked to agree to a mistrial.
"I said if we investigate and we uncover that what happened was prosecutorial misconduct, we will not have any choice, but to allege it. That is when he became enraged, that is when he made those threats to my practice,” said Gonzales.
After the allegations were made, LaHood's office released a statement saying the accusations were a "meritless attack on the integrity of (his) office and prosecutors."
"There is an old saying in the law: 'When you have the facts on your side, you argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, you argue the law. When you have neither, you attack the prosecutor,'" LaHood said. "This is plain and simple -- this is defense spin tactics trying to distract from the true victim in this case which is Laura Carter."
The motion can be read in full below: