death penalty news—-TEXAS

July 22


Court of Criminal Appeals likely to grant stay of execution because
evidence withheld in Mesquite case

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is expected to grant a stay of
execution to a Dallas County man on death row because Mesquite police
withheld evidence about a codefendant who testified against him, say
attorneys involved in the case.

Roderick Newton, 31, was sentenced to death in March 2000 for the
kidnapping, robbery and shooting death of 20-year-old Jesus Montoya of
Pleasant Grove. Another man charged in the crime, Julian Williams,
testified about the murder and said Montoya begged for his life before he
was killed.

Williams later pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Newton is scheduled to be executed Thursday.

The Dallas County District Attorney's office agreed to the stay of
execution because they too believe evidence was withheld, said Mike Ware,
who oversees the DA's conviction integrity unit.

David Finn, one of Newton's attorneys, said he believes that police never
gave the information to prosecutors. The DA's office said the statement
was not found in their files.

Withholding information that could benefit a defendant violates is
commonly called a "Brady violation." The phrase refers to a 1963 U.S.
Supreme County case – Brady vs. Maryland – in which the court found that
prosecutors violate defendants' constitutional rights if they
intentionally or accidentally withhold evidence favorable to the defense.

Mesquite police have not yet returned phone calls asking about this case.

(source: Dallas Morning News)