Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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Clayton News Daily
JONESBORO — Clayton County Superior Court Judge Albert Collier dropped a charge of influencing a witness Tuesday afternoon in the case against Sheriff Victor Hill.
Collier agreed with defense attorney Marissa Goldberg that the state failed to prove the charge sufficiently to present it to the jury. However, he denied her request for a directed verdict of guilty for the remaining 27 felony charges.
Collier also denied a defense request for a mistrial but admonished prosecutor Layla Zon for comments he considered shifting the burden of proof from the state to the defense, which is not required under the constitution.
Collier also denied a defense request to dismiss the indictment after the state rested its case Tuesday. Collier reminded the attorneys that he gave them until June 2012 to file all motions, a deadline that became lax over time.
However, once the case was set for trial starting Aug. 5, Collier said all motions should have been filed and heard prior to the start of the trial.
“The court finds this is one that should have been filed prior to trial,” he said. “The defense should have known about the filing of this motion prior to trial.”
The charge of influencing a witness dealt with Naomi Nash, a former Hill employee who was being held in the Clayton County Jail two years ago for contempt of court. Nash was arrested for refusing to testify before a special purpose grand jury investigating Hill.
Prosecutors said Hill sent an attorney to visit Nash and urge her to testify before the grand jury and testify truthfully. The attorney testified in this case to seeing her in jail and giving her the message. Nash did testify and was released from jail.
Check back for updates.