A man’s conviction in the fatal 2013 beating of a 5-year-old boy was recently reversed on appeal. The decision was reversed based on allegations or juror bias after two jurors from the case were overheard calling the plaintiff a “scumbag”. Criminal defense attorney Barry Covert spoke to Time Warner Cable News about the decision and what it means for the case going forward. The full story is available on the Time Warner Cable News website.
Reversal was interesting decision
In 2014, Matthew Kuzdzal was convicted of the 2013 sexual assault and murder of 5-year-old Eain Brooks. Mr. Covert told Time Warner Cable News that the appellate division’s decision to reverse the conviction was an interesting one. He explained that usually the appellate division would just say that a mistake had been made but that this time they made it clear that the plaintiff was guilty. Time Warner Cable News reports that the District Attorney’s Office is seeking to appeal the decision, but Mr. Covert says they will most likely not be successful. “It’s very unlikely that they will succeed, because this is a factual question as to whether the judge should have inquired as to whether the jurors had any taint and therefore should have been excluded, or something should have been done, or at least an instruction given,” Mr. Covert said.
Retrial will most likely be successful
If the District Attorney’s Office gets the opportunity to retry the case, Mr. Covert told Time Warner Cable News that he believes they will be successful, particularly because Kuzdzal’s testimony from the first trial would be allowed in the second trial. “I think it’s going to be a very difficult case for the defense attorney to defend against, especially where the defendant has already taken the stand once,” Mr. Covert explained. He went on to say that “if [Kuzdzal] doesn’t take the stand, they could try to introduce it and, if he does take the stand, they could use it to cross examine him.”
Mr. Covert told Time Warner Cable News that, even though the first trial was well-known, it should still be possible to find a fair jury in the same jurisdiction.
About Barry N. Covert
Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.