TEXAS CITY — An attorney seeks $3 million for his client who was acquitted of an armed robbery charge when a judge found prosecutors “secreted” evidence from the defense.

Taft L. Foley II of the Houston branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed a lawsuit in federal court Feb. 21 on behalf of Joshua Dwayne Bledsoe, who was jailed for 10 months on accusations he robbed a Texas City business in January 2010.

In a July 1 motion seeking summary judgment, Foley claims former Assistant District Attorney Jon Hall, who prosecuted Bledsoe, had a history of withholding evidence and that Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Jack Roady ratified a policy of withholding evidence by failing to properly train his prosecutors.

Roady and Hall have denied that evidence was withheld but have declined to comment on allegations in the pending litigation.

In the most recent motion, Foley asked a judge to award Bledsoe $3 million and $148,420 in attorney fees.

Hand caught ‘in the cookie jar’

“What scares me most is Joshua Bledsoe caught them with their hand in the cookie jar,” Foley said. “Many people suffer egregious prosecutorial misconduct but can’t afford an attorney to bring the bad things done to them to light.”

At a June 2011 trial, a witness testified she could identify Bledsoe in a photographic lineup despite telling her manager and the police dispatcher — with the 911 tape running — that she didn’t know the race of the suspects.

Bledsoe’s trial attorney, Jyll Rekoff, said the robbers wore ski masks. Rekoff said she asked prosecutors for the police dispatch recording, but it wasn’t provided until after the trial began. The 911 tape exonerated Bledsoe, Rekoff said.

Judge Susan Criss, of Galveston’s 212th District Court, agreed, saying the prosecution “secreted” evidence from the defense. Criss ordered the jury to acquit Bledsoe.

Roady told The Daily News in March that the 911 tape was in the file, but there was no measure previously in place that documented what prosecutors made available to the defense.

The motion for summary judgment explained how evidence was handled when it reached the district attorney’s office. Hall was accused of telling Criss that some evidence could be put into files without prosecutors knowing about it.

Evidence ‘magically appeared’

It’s abundantly clear that Roady was aware of his office’s mismanagement of exculpatory evidence, Foley states in the motion.

“They would either let the evidence sit on their desks and collect dust while criminal defendants rot in jail, or they used the Siegfried and Roy approach, claiming that the evidence magically appeared in the case file at trial,” Foley said.

“The latter approach worked until one of the big cats (plaintiff) got out of the cage and bit them on the a--,” Foley said.

The motion lists two other trials — a teacher accused of viewing child pornography at school and a man convicted of assaulting an officer — in which evidence was allegedly withheld.

In Bledsoe’s case, the lawsuit claims that a page of the offense report and cover sheet, which contained when the 911 tape was received and who delivered it, were missing from the case file.

Hall told Criss that the witness, after making the 911 call, told police that only one of the robbers wore a mask, the motion claims.

Hall resigned Oct. 1 amid the firing of another prosecutor accused of misconduct in an unrelated case.

The state bar is attempting to investigate the matter but was thwarted when appointed Judge Trey Dibrell concluded Bledsoe’s expunged case precluded the Commission for Lawyer Discipline from relying on the court records.

The commission is petitioning the Supreme Court of Texas to overturn Dibrell’s ruling.

Contact reporter Chris Paschenko at 409-683-5241 or chris.paschenko@galvnews.com.

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(5) comments

Island Bred

3 Million???? Is that the price of justice nowdays??? Ouch!

Robert Buckner

The price of injustice most likely

Island Bred

Too bad he won't see that much. It should come out of the DA's budget. That is some shameful stuff. I still don't know how you put a dollar amount on what justice is worth. Seems if you loses sight of the meaning of justice whether it be in your favor or not - your mistakes should be reflected in your job preformance eval. Why is it the DA can bumble like they do, lose as much as they do and still have jobs? A simple housekeeper not making a bed right or missing a vacume of the room could lose thier job. Why does this department walk time after time????

Gary Miller

“Secreted” evidence from the defense?
Evidence was witheld by the prosecution in the Zimmerman trial.
Recent pictures of Trayvon showing gang style tattos were not allowed because the prosecuter said they might influence the jury. The only pictures allowed were nearly. a year old
Isn't influencing the jury what evidence is supposed to do? Some 911 call recordings were not alowed that indicated why Zimmerman thought Martin was acting suspecious.
How much should Zimmermab sue for?
Has anyone realised if Travon had survived he would have been charged with felony asault and battery? An easy charge to convict with evidence available.

Kevin Lang

IHOG, those photos have been debunked by the ME's report. The photos you're referring to are of a 31-year-old rapper. Per the ME's report, he had a couple of small tattoos.

George Zimmerman must not be much of a hero to you if you have to grasp onto fake images of Trayvon Martin.

I wish Martin had survived so that maybe we would have gotten the full story, wherever it may have led.

What makes you think that the 911 transcripts that were published were incomplete or inaccurate? The mere fact that they don't include the non-existent blow-by-blow of the altercation?

If you're going to accuse the prosecution of withholding evidence, why shouldn't you be expected to present evidence of that?

The facts of the matter are that there wasn't a complete set of evidence that could prove that Zimmerman acted inappropriately, and there also wasn't a complete set of evidence that proves Zimmerman acted completely appropriately.

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