Lack of report leads to call for dismissal in Haffa trial
MAYVILLE — Public Defender Ned Barone is asking for a dismissal of a three-count indictment against Justin Haffa after a DNA report wasn’t provided to his office by the prosecution prior to trial.
Barone told the Hon. David Foley on today he never received the report detailing a T-shirt and fingernail clippings alleging to be that of Haffa before jury selection or before the prosecution rested its case.
The prosecution called Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Investigator Kristie Lyon to the stand last week. She discussed evidence collected, which included a shirt and fingernail clippings, at the scene during the Sept. 11 incident.
Barone explained to Foley that he needs to have an opportunity ahead of trial to adequately prepare the defense’s case. Barone acknowledged he would have sent the report to an expert to better understand it.
Barone received a copy of the report by the prosecution after calling the judge’s attention to the violation. He said he hasn’t looked at the report in detail.
Foley subsequently announced a break until 1:30 to explore what the legal options are in lieu of the trial violation. Foley said it seems clear the defense wasn’t given the report before jury selection.
Jurors reported Tuesday for 9:30 a.m. and were set free until later this afternoon.
District Attorney Patrick Swanson acknowledged the matter falls on his office. He said he had every intention to hand the report over.
Haffa is facing three felony charges following the Sept. 11 incident in which he allegedly attacked deputy Sara Cunningham during a field sobriety test. Charges include first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer.
Barone said his initial ask to the court is to dismiss the indictment. The other option would be a mistrial.
Barone began to present his case after the prosecution rested Thursday.