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From Tom Redington, Marion County Prosecutor
Sept. 12, 2010
For Immediate Release
Re: State v Uhlmeyer
I have, today, dismissed the criminal charges in this case.
I have concluded that a second trial will likely result in a trial that is not winnable or sustainable on appeal, even if it is won at the trial level. Trying the case again is not an efficient use of my office’s resources.
Everyone involved was surprised by the Doctor Arden Reynold’s testimony during the first trial, that the victim’s memory of the incident, and hence his testimony, could not be relied upon. The Judge then, correctly, ruled that the victim should not be allowed to testify before the jury. Missouri case law provides that this ruling would also be applied in the re-trial, as the “law of the case.”
When this unanticipated testimony occurred in the first trial, I had already presented the victim’s version of the occurrence to the jury, in the form of my opening statement, and had presented a number of witnesses to corroborate that testimony, so that the jury heard the victim’s “side of the story.” All of that changes in a re-trial.
I will not be able to relate the victim’s testimony in my opening statement, as I am clearly on notice that he will be prohibited from testifying. Any attempt by me to skirt these rules, would lead to another mistrial. I simply cannot imagine justice being done (that is: a guilty verdict) when the jury is only allowed to hear Uhlmeyer’s side of the story.
My staff and I have explored all the legal maneuvers we can think of to try to present the victim’s version of the facts to the jury. However, the Confrontation Clause of the Constitution prevents the presentation of prior testimony, deposition testimony, or hearsay statements made by the victim. We have concluded that it is futile to try to present his version, as those attempts will be unsuccessful.
As we reviewed the previous trial, which had votes reported to the Judge of 10-2 and 9-3 at various stages of the proceedings, we found numerous factual developments which favored the State, which are unlikely to happen again. Our discussions with the jury members, after the trial, indicated that the votes had been 10-2 and 9-3 for “guilty” but that the members who would not vote to convict were unwilling to change their minds, despite the evidence.
I have concluded that it is best to dismiss the criminal charge, but to cooperate with the victim and his private attorney in processing a civil lawsuit (if any). I have instructed my staff to cooperate with the victim’s lawyer if requested in the future.