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Criminal Law - Procedure - Information or indictment - Joinder or severance of accused

Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 7:00 PM  


Appeals by Boothe and Rowe-Boothe from their convictions for second-degree murder. The victim was the 10-year-old son of Boothe and stepson of Rowe-Boothe, who died after being starved and abused for a lengthy period. Both accused admitted to abusing the child, but neither admitted to the final brutal beating of the child, that resulted in his death in the home. On appeal, Boothe argued it was unfair for the trial judge to have denied his application for severance based on late disclosure of photographic evidence by Rowe-Boothe, taking the position that his cross-examination of one of her witnesses would have been conducted differently had the photos been disclosed in a timely manner. Rowe-Boothe argued on appeal that statements she gave police prior and subsequent to her arrest should not have been admitted at trial.

HELD: Appeals dismissed. The trial judge gave due consideration to the possible unfairness worked by the late disclosure of the photos by Rowe-Boothe in denying Boothe’s severance application. The evidence did not bear upon the strategy Boothe used in examining Rowe-Boothe’s witnesses, and its absence in a severed trial would not have impacted the verdict against Boothe. Rowe-Boothe was not a suspect when she gave her pre-arrest statement to the police, such that the trial judge was entitled to consider her statement voluntary and admissible. He was also entitled to find that she was not subject to oppression in her post-arrest interview with police simply because she was told that her lawyer was not coming to the station. Rowe-Boothe had consulted with her lawyer prior to the interview and nothing happened to warrant a re-consultation.