US SUPREME COURT DECISION MEANS D'AMBROSIO STAYS FREE
January 23, 2012: the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the state of Ohio challenging the unconditional writ of habeas corpus and bar to the re-prosecution of Joe D'Ambrosio, 49, white, thus ending the capital case. He has now been freed from death row with all charges dismissed (The Nation's 140th Death Row Exoneration).
A federal District Court had first overturned D'Ambrosio's conviction in 2006 because the state had withheld key evidence from the defense.
The federal court originally allowed the state to re-prosecute him, but just before trial the state revealed the existence of even more important evidence and requested further delay.
Also the state did not divulge in a timely manner that the key witness against D'Ambrosio had died. In 2010, the District Court barred DāAmbrosioās re-prosecution because of the prosecutorsā misconduct. The court concluded that these developments biased D'Ambrosio's chances for a fair trial, and hence the state was barred from retrying him. District Court Judge Kathleen O'Malley wrote: āFor 20 years, the State held DāAmbrosio on death row, despite wrongfully withholding evidence that āwould have substantially increased a reasonable jurorās doubt of DāAmbrosioās guilt.ā Despite being ordered to do so by this Court ā¦ the State still failed to turn over all relevant and material evidence relating to the crime of which DāAmbrosio was convicted. Then, once it was ordered to provide DāAmbrosio a constitutional trial or release him within 180 days, the State did neither.
During those 180 days, the State engaged in substantial inequitable conduct, wrongfully retaining and delaying the production of yet more potentially exculpatory evidenceā¦ To fail to bar retrial in such extraordinary circumstances surely would fail to serve the interests of justice.ā (Sources: DPIC, 23/01/2012)