Evidence Found by Jury Grounds for Retrial

At Total Criminal Defense, we’ve mentioned the so-called CSI Effect, which is allegedly causing Americans to have unrealistic expectations about what kind of evidence is available in criminal trials, and how exciting those trials are.

But every now and then, a real-life court case has a twist or turn that is dramatic enough to garner notice. Recently, one such case came to light in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Moses M. Streete, a New York man, was arrested last March while fleeing the scene of an armed robbery. At his October trial, he was found guilty of 13 crimes in conjunction with three armed robberies committed in the Mt. Airy area of Maryland, according to reports from the Fredrick News-Post and the Houston Chronicle.

Those crimes included charges involving handgun violations and armed robbery, sources indicate. Since his conviction this fall, Streete has been held without bail in jail-but was awaiting a new trial.

Why? Apparently, the police didn’t do such a hot job getting the evidence together for their case against Streete. While the 12-person jury was deliberating after the four-day trial, they reportedly uncovered some evidence that the officers in charge of the case had missed.

Their findings included $1,317 in cash, a rubber glove, and a bottle containing a pill, according to sources. Though state police had allegedly had custody of the coat since Streete’s arrest, these items had never been discovered.

Interestingly, reports suggest that Streete was convicted of only 13 charges (though he was accused of 28) because of a lack of evidence: prosecutors were unable to offer adequate proof to convict Streete of the remaining 15 charges. Among those were charges of assault and felony theft, according to sources.

Streete’s criminal defense lawyer has reportedly claimed that Streete’s case was handled improperly, and was glad to hear that the judge had called for a retrial. The defense lawyer also mentioned that retrials are extremely rare in the criminal justice system.

But when mistakes like this one occur, they’re necessary.

Now, thanks to the Fifth Amendment, which protects against double jeopardy, Streete cannot be found guilty of the crimes for which he was already found innocent. And he and his defense attorney now have a second shot at maintaining his innocence.

As might be expected, jurors asked about their experiences during the trial reportedly expressed surprise. Apparently, most were (understandably) shocked that police investigators had overlooked such important evidence.