A Texas City man who spent 10 months in jail for a crime he did not commit has filed a $3 million federal lawsuit against officials in Galveston County and Texas City.A directed acquittal specifically because of concealing exculpatory evidence is a rare bird indeed, in part because evidence concealed isn't available at trial to contradict the prosecution's case. It's usually discovered long after the fact when the damage has been done. Bledsoe's attorney must have done a fine investigation to pull that out of a hat. Here are the specifics of the alleged Brady violation, again from the Chronicle:
Joshua Bledsoe was released from custody in June 2011, when state District Judge Susan Criss issued a direct verdict in his favor. The acquittal was ordered on grounds that former Assistant District Attorney Jon Hall and the DA's Office withheld exculpatory evidence, according to the lawsuit filed Feb. 21, 2013.
According to the original petition, Bledsoe's attorney Taft L. Foley II obtained a 911 tape with eyewitness Tina Mullins, who told the dispatcher that the suspects were wearing ski masks. She later identified Bledsoe in a photographic lineup.Where's the state bar on this, one wonders? The directed acquittal two years ago specifically based on grounds of withholding exculpatory evidence ought to make the disciplinary committee's job pretty easy, but according to the state bar website Jon Hall has never been sanctioned.
The lawsuit charges that Texas City police and the DA's Office pressured Mullins into identifying Bledsoe. Mullins is not a party to the lawsuit.
"The defendants deliberately and maliciously caused the prosecution to commence by deliberately and intentionally fabricating some evidence, by deliberately and intentionally withholding some critical favorable evidence and by deliberately and intentionally mischaracterizing some critical evidence in their possession, custody and control," the lawsuit states.
UPDATE: More on this case.