Judge Blasts 'Spectacularly Incompetent' Lawyers After Man With Iron-Clad Alibi Is Convicted
Convicted and sentenced to life last month, LaDondrell Montgomery had insisted all along that he wasn’t the man identified by eyewitnesses to an armed robbery.
But a Texas jury didn’t believe him and found the 36-year-old guilty in the Harris County case. Yesterday, his conviction was reversed and State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis personally apologized to Montgomery, reports the Houston Chronicle.
A few days after he was sentenced, Montgomery’s attorney, Ronald Ray, who is also representing him in other pending robbery cases, took a close look at his client’s rap sheet and realized he was in jail at the time of the 2009 crime in which he had been convicted. Ray had asked Montgomery before trial where he was during the armed robbery, but he just didn’t remember, the newspaper explains.
“It boggles the mind that neither side knew about this during trial,” the judge said yesterday, blaming both the prosecution and the defense for not realizing earlier that Montgomery literally had an iron-clad alibi. “Both sides in this case were spectacularly incompetent.”
Ray said afterward that he considers the case a success, since he has freed a man who was facing a life sentence.
Prosecutor Alison Baimbridge pointed out that she had investigated Montgomery’s record, once his alibi was brought to her attention, and joined in the defense request for a reversal. As the state’s attorney, she noted, she is generally not permitted to seek such information directly from a suspect prior to trial.