Saturday, May 24, 2014

Exonerating video surfaces midway through Hays County murder trial

The Austin Statesman reported ("Exonerating video surfaces midway through Hays County murder trial," May 23) on a dramatic turn of events in a Hays County murder trial, in which the prosecution handed over exonerating video to the defense four days into the jury trial, though it had been in the state's possession, supposedly never viewed, for 15 months. Wrote Esther Robards-Forbes:
Brelyn Sorrells was halfway through his murder trial, meeting with his attorney at the Hays County Jail, when they got a call from the prosecution.

A video had been found. ...

Sorrells, 21, knew that video, recorded at a party where he was accused of stabbing 20-year-old Arthur Martinez to death, was the key to his exoneration. It had been self-defense, he said.

The video had sat in evidence, unwatched for more than 15 months ... because the digital file had a time stamp indicating it was shot hours after the fight had happened. Investigators had not realized that it was stamped in Greenwich Mean Time, not Central Standard Time, a possible glitch in the phone or the data, police said.

“Nobody viewed the video because it was thought that it was not relevant to the trial,” Williams said.

According to court documents, the video was part of the large batch of evidence turned over to the defense in May 2013. But Payan said the video wasn’t part of the evidence he received.

It was at the end of the fourth day of the trial, May 15, that prosecutors alerted Payan to the video. It was the same day prosecutors had discovered it actually showed the fight in question. It is unclear why or how the video came to light. Officials with the DA’s office have refused to comment beyond an official statement that was issued this week.

“In this case, the main issue was always whether or not the defendant acted in self-defense,” the statement said. “A grand jury heard evidence and determined that there was probable cause to indict the case.”

The grand jury indicted Sorrells in May 2013, before the video came to light. ...
A [petit] jury took nine hours to find him not guilty. They told defense attorneys that the video had significantly contributed to their decision.
 Better late than never, I suppose, but wow! Talk about your eleventh hour Brady disclosures!


rodsmith said...

sounds to me like major legal grounds to sue the shit out of the state. Your having a MURDER trial and you let evidence sit for 15 months and never looked at it. That's criminal.

You have locked up an innocent man for at least what 15 months. destroyed his reputation since this shit will be on the internet FOREVER. With far far too many retards in the world that will only need to see "Individual indited for MURDER" to assume he's guilty. Never mind what this shit has done to his family. Sorry but if they don't make this right under the law. The he has the legal and moral right to get it out of your asses. OUTSIDE the law if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Does not smell right. If this video was booked into evidence someone knew well before trial what was on it. No way the prosecution had time during trial to view the video if they had already erroneously decided it was not relevant due to the time stamp. Time stamps are often wrong as any experienced LEO or DA would know due to daylight saving time and issues like this video had with a different time zone. Oversight my ass. They were hoping to get a plea during trial and when it was becoming apparent 4 days into their case it was not gonna happen they gave up the evidence to avoid a Brady violation. Another example where absolute immunity for prosecutors needs to go away. This case needs to be investigated thoroughly to see who did what; needs to be fired and possibly charged with a crime. What is wrong with these people trusted to seek justice? Seems unfathomable that the video was not actually viewed before it was checked into evidence for safekeeping. ADA is either so negligent he needs to resign or so crooked he needs to go to jail. This is just another example of why the state cannot be trusted with the power to put people to death. They are too cavalier with their power and too lax in seeking the truth (for 15 months). Brad Walters

Anonymous said...

I am assuming the defense attorney did even a half decent job of requesting discovery. If so, this is just one more example of a prosecutor or a cop deciding what evidence is relevant to the defense. I get so tired of prosecutors telling me what evidence I need and don't need! I bet this attorney did not ask for any and all videos related to this case unless the date is after the fact. It didn't matter what the prosecution THOUGHT was on the video it matters that they didn't turn it over. You would think they would be happy when we "waste" our time.

rodsmith said...

your slipping scott. That one was up almost 2 days! LOL

it's still TRUE though. Just how many fucking times are we to turn the other cheek before we can respond with violence in kind.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

11:40 wrote: "They were hoping to get a plea during trial and when it was becoming apparent 4 days into their case it was not gonna happen they gave up the evidence to avoid a Brady violation."

Exactly right. This man was put in jeopary of his life or freedom just in case prosecutors could get him to cop a plea. Then the video would have disappeared. Was Ken Anderson advising these prosecutor-thugs?


Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hayes County ADAs learned how to trick the defense teams via utilizing this hide the evidence technique from rogue ADAs out of Harris County.

Former career ADA - Mr. Casey J. O'Brien ("The King of Nolo Contendere" trolls as "jigmeister" taught them personally.

*Note to CDL (real ones, impostors don't count), file pre trial motions even if you plan on tapping you and your client out out. Make sure that the - COURTS ORDERS form(s) is filled out and time / date stamped. Your client will appreciate it when he / she buys copies of everything as required for filing an application for a Full Pardon - for / based on Innocence.