The Daily Herald reports that in Utah County, defense attorneys for accused murderer Dr. Martin MacNeill recently filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, alleging that the state was guilty of “withholding information, grooming witnesses and having knowledge of another possible suspect in the case and not notifying them.” The Herald reports,
In their original motion the defense listed 36 different items that the prosecution had not provided them. In their response the county attorney’s office admitted that eight of the items mentioned were neither sent to or made available to the defense through their case file. The motion claims that 15 of the items outlined by the defense were provided to them, that 11 more were available through their open file policy and that two of the items never existed. The motion says there are a few exceptions including a disc of emails from Witney that was only recently discovered.
The Utah County Attorney’s Office admitted that some materials in the case file were not sent directly to the defense. But, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, “he insists no laws were broken because Spencer and Gustin could have come to his office to view all the records under the department’s open records policy.”
Even if defense counsel had proactively looked at the case file instead of relying on the State to provide them with discovery, the DA admitted, they would not have found everything.
The Utah County Attorney’s Office uses an “E-discovery process” to send defense attorneys evidentiary information through an online server, Pead wrote. But not all the MacNeill documents were placed there.
The Tribune suggests that this is not the only instance in which the Utah County Prosecutor’s Office have failed to provide information:
On Thursday, another defense attorney, Brett Tolman, filed a motion alleging similar conduct by the Utah County Attorney’s Office. Tolman, who represents former Provo Municipal councilmen Steve Turley, who is facing fraud charges, asks a judge in his 166-page filing to either order prosecutors to hand over more evidence or to dismiss the case.