Cannizzaro, defense attorneys agree to scrap 2010 murder conviction

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- In October 2010, a New Orleans jury found Jamaal Tucker guilty of second-degree murder.

Wednesday, a criminal court judge tossed that conviction and subsequent life sentence on grounds of a Brady violation, or, a failure to disclose evidence to the defense.

Prosecutors with Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office admitted to finding new evidence in the case that wasn't brought forward in the trial.

'This is a historic day in Orleans Parish. I'm glad that Mr. Cannizzaro's office agreed to join us in moving to grant a new trial,' said attorney Michael Admirand, who represents Tucker.

Tucker, who is accused of shooting a man to death near the Fisher Housing Development in 2008, remains behind bars on a $400,000 bond as he awaits a status hearing in several weeks.

'Because this is a pending case, I'm quite limited in what I can say, but I can say that, with this newly discovered evidence, we look forward to a new, fair trial that will exonerate Mr. Tucker,' Admirand said.

The evidence in question concerns an alleged deal given to an incarcerated witness who testified against Tucker.

Wednesday's decision to scrap the conviction comes after Cannizzaro conceded the misstep and filed a joint motion with defense attorneys to amend it.

While Brady violations have haunted the district attorney's office for years -- most notably during Harry Connick's tenure -- Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino said the response to this case is a step in the right direction.

'In the past the DA's office fought tooth and nail to preserve convictions, even when, to many observers, there were blatant Brady violations,' Ciolino said. 'It's encouraging that the district attorney's office realized that there was a Brady violation, acknowledged it and stepped up and voluntarily agreed to correct the conviction.'

The district attorney's office declined to comment, because the case is still pending.

Jamaal Tucker is now headed for his fourth trial in this same case.

The first two were declared mistrials.


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