Wednesday, 13 April 2011

In Maryland Murder Trial

Prosecutors Suffer Another Blow; Judge Nuta Denies Motion To Remove Juror 

Following a week-long delay to proceed with the ongoing murder trial involving H. Dan Morias and nine prominent citizens of Maryland County, state prosecutors Tuesday suffered another blow after the Presiding Judge denied an application filed by the state to remove one of the petit jurors serving on the panel.
When the case was called for hearing on Tuesday, lawyers representing the interest of the Liberian Government prayed the court to eject, or disqualify juror Musu Zodiah for reason that during the registration process of the jurors, she indicated that she was living in the West Point Community.
To buttress the application, one of the prosecutors submitted that juror Zodiah’s name appeared on the listing forwarded to the court by the Commissioner of West Point on March 16, 2011.
The prosecution also spread on the minutes of the court that after juror Zodiah was selected and sequestered as one of the last three jurors, completing the panel to live on the grounds of the Temple of Justice, but it was later found out that the information given about her residence was not true.
Based on the above reasons, prosecution contended that juror Zodiah be disqualified as previously done to other jurors in the same case.
But resisting the motion filed by the state lawyers, one of the defense lawyers, Cllr. J. Lavala Supuwood requested the court to deny the unmeritorious submission for the following legal and factual reasons that the government prosecutors are relaying: tactics, weakness and illegal means to frustrate fellow citizens, who had been incarcerated and made to suffer under their skin.
Cllr. Supuwood told the court that the prosecution has failed to give legal reason why the juror should be disqualified, after the Supreme Court had reviewed and mandated Judge Nuta to resume jurisdiction over the murder case.
The defense argued that the state prosecutors cannot come back on the very day after the Judge had resumed jurisdiction over the matter as mandated by the Justice-in-Chambers, Francis S. Korkpor, Sr.
“It is further cleared that the prosecution lacked the evidence to convict the defendants or established their case, after presenting six witnesses and reviewing their own evidence , they are not satisfied that such evidence can convince any intelligent mind, such as these jurors, to convict another person for such a serious crime. The only honorable thing they can do such as we have done in the past is to nolle prosequi this case. That is to say, if the evidence as presented by them cannot connect these defendants to the crime charged, they should dismiss the case and not to use this court as instruments to continue to harass, intimidate and keep in prison innocent people for political and other motives,” Cllr. Supuwood declared.
Cllr. Supuwood informed the court that from the inception of the case, after the prosecution had paraded six witnesses, it has found out it have no evidence to convict the accused.
In a related development, the fate of defendant Mle Merriam is still in limbo as state prosecutors have yet to produce his living body in the court as requested by the defense in its petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed before Criminal Court “D” at the Temple of Justice last week.
The case resumes this morning with the prosecution putting its seventh witness on the stand.