Constitutional Law

Prosecutor Resigns in Wake of Federal Judge's Reversal of Capital Murder Case Conviction

Criticized last week by a federal judge for his conduct in a capital murder case, a Virginia prosecutor announced today that he would resign, effective tomorrow.

“It is not an easy decision,” says the letter provided by Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Close to the Star-Exponent. “My inclination is to fight back. But in the final analysis, I do not think a protracted battle is good for the office of commonwealth’s attorney or for Culpeper County.”

As detailed in an earlier post, U.S. District Judge James C. Turk cited exculpatory evidence withheld by the government and facts suggesting that Michael Wayne Hash is actually innocent as the basis for the reversal earlier this month of his 2001 conviction in a capital murder case.

Close won the conviction against Hash in the 1996 murder of a 74-year-old woman shot to death in her home.

A hearing is scheduled Wednesday on whether Hash, who is now 31, should be released while a special prosecutor decides whether he should be retried. The state attorney general’s office has previously announced that it will not appeal Turk’s ruling.

The Associated Press also has a story.

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