Lawyer for Accused Murderer of Rabbi in Florida Accuses State of Withholding Evidence
The defense attorney for a teenager accused of murdering a rabbi in Miami Beach accused the state of Florida of withholding evidence, CBS Miami reported on Wednesday.
“Prosecution 101 is if you see evidence you try to preserve it right away,” Adam Goodman, who is representing 15-year-old Deandre Charles, argued during the hearing. “It seems like it’s easier to get an appointment with some of the difficult restaurants in Miami-Dade County than it is to get that appointment.”
Goodman explained that the State Attorney’s office, which has been working for 16 months on the case of the murder of Rabbi Joseph Raskin, 60, is required by law to reveal all evidence against the defendant to his lawyer.
Charles is accused of shooting the Orthodox rabbi during a robbery attempt in 2014. Raskin, from Brooklyn, NY, was visiting Florida when he was shot on his way to Shabbat services at Bais Menachem Chabad.
During the hearing, Goodman said two photos were shown on a TV news broadcast before being given to Charles’ legal counsel. The State denied leaking the pictures, and prosecutors claimed that even they have not seen some of the evidence in question.
“(It) was not provided by the State Attorney’s office. Period,” said prosecutor Michael Von Zamft. “We have an obligation to continue to turn over discovery, and when we get it, we will turn it over.”
The State has also not yet identified the eyewitness who picked Charles out of a lineup, according to CBS Miami. A prosecutor explained the decision to withhold the eyewitness’ name, saying, “Because of the public disclosures that have been made in this case, we have decided to only list those witnesses by their initials and exclude their addresses for their safety.”
It was agreed in court that the defense would have the opportunity to interrogate the witness, but must keep his name confidential. That eyewitness will take the stand on Friday, during the Arthur Hearing, the stage during which the defense will be able to argue that Charles should be given a bond. Prosecutors said they will record the eyewitness testimony during the hearing.
The judge set a date for another hearing to get an update on when the State will have more evidence to release.