Defense For Convicted Rapist Claims New Trial Needed Following Evidence Issues
November 17, 2020
By Mike Kruzman & Jon King / email@example.com
A new trial is being requested in the case of a Brighton-area man who was convicted of raping a teenage girl at a golf course, with a war of words erupting between attorneys for both sides.
22-year-old Zachary Lally of Genoa Township was convicted in March on 3 counts of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct and two lesser charges stemming from an October 2018 incident involving a teenage girl who worked at Oak Pointe Golf Course. But in June, Howell attorney Tom Kizer filed a motion accusing Assistant Prosecutor Pamela Maas of soliciting perjured testimony from a detective on the case. To avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest, Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt asked the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to handle the case, which then turned it over to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.
Following an evidentiary hearing in September that lasted over several days, Livingston County Circuit Court Chief Judge Hatty asked Kizer and fellow defense attorney Rolland Sizemore to file a brief on the Lally motion. That motion was submitted by Sizemore on Tuesday. Chief among their complaints was a claim regarding the state’s intentional failure to provide discovery. The brief states that neither Lally’s original attorney nor Sizemore received 5 pages of a police report that contained the detective’s report of his interview with Lally’s accuser and a witness. Sizemore said he only received them after observing Maas using them to examine the witness at the March trial. Mass stated she emailed the missing pages to Sizemore on November 13th, 2019. The brief claims the court’s IT person verified an email with attachment was sent from Maas’s private email. Sizemore testified that he did not receive it. The brief also accuses Maas and the detective of cooperating to falsify evidence.
Prosecutors have adamantly denied those allegations and in an emailed response to WHMI, Paul Walton, Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Oakland County, who is handling the case along with his wife Danielle, also an assistant prosecutor, says that the email and the missing 5 pages were indeed sent by the county’s email system to Sizemore’s email address provided to the Michigan Bar Association and did not “bounce back,” adding that “Maas cannot force Sizemore to read his email or open the attachments to those emails.” Walton also said that if Sizemore, in fact, did not receive the discovery and did not notice until in trial, then that should have been made known to the court at that time, with curative measures suggested, and not until after an adverse verdict many months later. As to the assertion of falsifying evidence, Walton said that the issue had been “fully vetted” and the claims are “unfounded,” concluding that “Lally was convicted by overwhelming evidence of a brutal rape of a 17 year old child and now is trying to avoid the consequences of his heinous conduct.”
In response, Sizemore told WHMI that he was “disturbed that the Prosecutor assigned to this case has chosen to comment publicly in a clear attempt to pressure Judge Hatty and unfairly influence the public through the use of the media. Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 3.6 and 3.8 restrict such extra-judicial comments. It would be improper comment and I will not participate in that dialogue. Such comments in a pending case are just wrong.” However, Sizemore when on to add that the Waltons had contributed $200 to the campaign of Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt, who lost his re-election bid in the August primary to former Judge David Reader, who will become the new prosecutor in January. “They never disclosed that fact before the Defense raised it at the commencement of the hearing. Now, they appear so personally invested that they are unable to let Judge Hatty do his job based upon the evidence and the law. They have abandoned their duty to justice and a lawful result by using the media to prejudice the Defendant's lawful rights and unfairly prejudice the court.”
Prosecutors have roughly two weeks to issue an official response to the court, at which point the defense will have two weeks to respond. At that point, Judge Hatty will then issue a ruling on the motions.