Social media prompts DA to withhold recorded statements in 2012 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Social media prompts DA to withhold recorded statements in 2012 murder case

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

An interesting dynamic unfolded in Muscogee County Superior Judge Art Smith's courtroom on Wednesday regarding social media. 

Defense Attorneys Jennifer Curry and Will Kirby entered several motions during a pre-trial murder hearing for Dontevious Doleman and Edward Lee, defendants in a 21- count indictment including the shooting death of Charlie Artis outside his barbershop on Gunboat Drive in January 2012.

In one of the motions, the defense  requested the judge to force the state, represented by Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lambertus, to allow the defense to obtain copies of their clients and witnesses' recorded statements. 

Curry told the court it's impossible to provide an adequate defense without sufficient access to those statements. 

Viewing the video one time in the DA's office under the their terms is not enough, said Curry who's providing counsel for Lee.

"I need to watch the video with my client and go back and forth asking him questions; I can't do that in the DA's office," added Curry.

Kirby continued to press the point suggesting they would make their own copies, but for the state not to allow it, goes against the law.  The judge acknowledged the 10-day time frame before trial that the state is required to handover evidence to the defense. 

The state is adamantly opposed to giving up the material, citing previous cases where that practice has proven to be counterproductive. "We have done this in the past and the copies have shown up on social media with the word "snitch" attached, explained Lambertus.

The defense also entered a motion to suppress evidence pertaining to 3 items, a gun, Xbox and controller found inside an apartment on 19th Avenue in January 2012. The pair was inside the apartment hiding from police, according to the state attorney. 

The judge denied the motion but granted the redacting of aliases of Doleman during upcoming trial. The judge will render his ruling on Thursday at 2 pm.

Copyright 2016 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

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