The conviction of Michael "Murder" Hoffler, serving life without the possibility of parole for the 2003 murder of a police informant, was reversed by the Appellate Division because of a rare glitch in courtroom proceeding where potential jurors were given the wrong oath.
Here's the background:
At the beginning of jury selection, prospective jurors are all administered the "oath of truthfulness" as a group by the commissioner of jurors. With the oath they essentially pledge they will answer questions honestly put to them by the prosecution, defense and sometimes a judge to determine whether they are suited to serve.
A second oath, administered by the trial court clerk to seated jurors just before the trial begins, is a promise to fairly try the issues before them and render a verdict in accordance with the evidence and the law.
The court ruled that a review of the record showed the commissioner never gave the jurors the first "truthfulness" oath, instead reading them a rendition of the second one.
Hoffler was convicted in '05 for the murder of informant, Christopher Drabik. The decision can be read here.
Makes you wonder how many defense attorneys are combing through their files as we speak.
In other criminal news:
The state's highest court ruled Thursday that a Rensselaer man convicted six years ago of sexual abuse deserves a new trial because prosecutors withheld information from the defense.
Burton Jeffery Hunter was found guilty in November 2002 of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl on Dec. 9, 2001, at his East Street home and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Record reporter, Jim Franco, has written about five pounds of articles on this case. We can't find the links to any of them but if you can track them down, they covered the case quite well.
Which brings us to The Wankers of the Week.