Update: The Daily Progress reports that Hash’s trial date has been bumped from April to June, 2014.
The Daily Progress reports that a trial date has been set in the civil case of Michael Hash, who is suing the District Attorney of Culpeper County, three Sherriff’s investigators, a jailer and an informant who he alleges engaged in misconduct to help secure his conviction. You can read about a spate of findings of prosecutorial misconduct out of Virginia, including in the Hash case, in our recent post here.
Date set in Hash wrongful conviction lawsuit
Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013 12:00 am Updated: 5:00 am, Sun Apr 7, 2013.
By Allison Brophy Champion
It will be a year before the local man wrongfully convicted of capital murder has his day in court in the federal civil rights lawsuit he filed against past and present Culpeper County justice system officials.
A jury trial in the case of Michael Hash vs. Gary Close, Scott Jenkins, James Mack, Calvin Bruce Cave, Mary Peters Dwyer and Paul Carter was recently scheduled for April 2 through April 7, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Western Division in Charlottesville.
An initial motions hearing is set for next month.
Hash, 31, of Crozet filed the eight-count lawsuit against Close, former Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Jenkins, Culpeper County Sheriff and the others in December.
In the suit, Hash claims: 1) that he was falsely arrested in 2000 in the 1996 murder of his neighbor Thelma Scroggins by Jenkins, lead investigator in the case for the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, co-investigator Mack, now Jenkins’ chief deputy, and Cave, a former CCSO sergeant and supervisor ; 2) that Close, prosecutor in the case, Jenkins and Mack fabricated evidence; 3) that Jenkins and Mack suppressed favorable evidence before his conviction; 4) that all named defendants conspired to violate his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial including Dwyer, a former CCSO chief jailer, and former federal inmate Carter, a main witness for the prosecution; 5) that Close, Jenkins and Mack suppressed favorable evidence after his conviction; 6) that Close, Jenkins, Mack and Cave were all involved in his malicious prosecution and 6) that Close, Jenkins, Mack and Cave were all responsible for his false imprisonment for nearly 12 years.
Hash sought a trial by jury in the case, which he will be granted, according to the federal court Web site listing the April, 2014 jury trial. Hash is also seeking that the court award him compensatory and punitive monetary damages from the defendants “in such amounts as the court and jury find fair and reasonably supported by the evidence.” The defendant also seeks pre and post judgment recovery of costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, as well as “any and all other relief to which he may be entitled.”
Hash’s 2001 conviction in Culpeper County Circuit Court was vacated Feb. 28, 2013 by U.S. District Court Judge James Turk, who cited methods employed by Culpeper officials “that offend a sense of justice.” An outside prosecutor subsquently nolle prossed the charge last year against Hash meaning there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
Hash has been free about a year.
The Scroggins’ murder, meanwhile, remains under investigation by the Fairfax County Police Department Cold Case Squad.
The first motions hearing in federal court in the Hash civil suit is May 20 at 2 p.m. before District Judge Glen Conrad.