Three men were convicted in a complex criminal case in Baltmore, on Nov. 15. The leader of the group, 45, was convicted of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and a number of attempted-murder charges. His brother, 36, was found guilty of conspiracy and attempted murder, while his nephew, 22, was found guilty of conspiracy. His 31-year-old wife and three others pleaded guilty in an earlier case.
Although the prosecution was successful in the case and the verdict, the court found two assistant attorneys in contempt of court and fined them each $100. The pair set up a lunch date between two of the integral witnesses in the case. The prosecution is seeking further information into the actions of their staff.
The case suffered further controversy. The defense attorneys also challenged the restriction of evidence in the case. Prosecutors countered that the witnesses needed protection. The 45-year-old man said he wouldn't get a fair trial and refused to show up in protest.
The case started when a relative of the group's leader, a former high school wrestling champion, was killed in 2011. Prosecutors say that the family carried out a series of killings in retaliation for the death. The state's attorney used a newly formed team of prosecutors to create a conspiracy charge that would allow them to try the defendants as a group. Defense attorneys asked the jury to examine each case individually instead of as a whole, as they felt it would increase their chances of an acquittal.
When questions are raised in a case about the conduct of the prosecution, the court might challenge some of the evidence they present. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to cast doubt on the integrity of the prosecution when they are charged in a case.
Source: Baltimore Sun, "Three guilty in long-running Baltimore murder conspiracy", Ian Duncan, November 15, 2013