21 June 2003

Recall that on 27 March 2003 - 8:43 - I expressed my shock that prosecutorial misconduct in a case out of Powhatan was so bad that the 4th Circuit had upheld a federal habeus.

Bob Beasley, who was not the Commonwealth Attorney when this case was tried, got this whole thing dumped in his lap. He has decided not to retry the case.
Powhatan County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Beasley said the main reason he decided against another trial for Monroe was lack of support from the family of the victim.

"I think that after 11 years of constant litigation, the Burde family wants to put this tragic episode behind them and move on with their lives," Beasley said.

Beasley said another factor in the decision was the unavailability of some trial witnesses who have moved out of state.
I can't blame him; I know I wouldn't want to have to put a case that big back together 7 years later. Especially when the 4th Circuit has already said nice things such as:
In March of 1992, wealthy art collector and notorious philanderer Roger de la Burde died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Following a high- profile trial in Powhatan County, Virginia, his longtime girlfriend Beverly Monroe was convicted of his murder. Monroe later discovered a wealth of exculpatory evidence that the prosecution had suppressed, including impeachment material, leads implicating other suspects, official documents labeling Burde's death a suicide, and statements suggesting that Burde may have been suicidal. On the basis of this new information, Monroe claimed that the prosecution had violated her due process rights, pursuant to the principles established by Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963).

After unsuccessful state court proceedings, Monroe petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the Eastern District of Virginia. Following discovery in the federal proceedings, the district court granted the writ, concluding that the prosecution had suppressed material, exculpatory evidence. Monroe v. Angelone, No. 3:98CV254, Memorandum Opinion (E.D.Va. Mar. 28, 2002) (the "Habeas Opinion"). The Commonwealth has appealed the court's award of habeas corpus relief, and Monroe has cross-appealed, challenging the court's conclusion that she procedurally defaulted certain aspects of her Brady claim. Because the Brady evidence on which the court relied is sufficient to warrant its award of habeas corpus relief, we affirm without deciding the procedural default issue.

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