With rising tensions between the police, the case of the Queensbury man who is looking to have his murder charges dismissed due to an improper subpoena, may be small news, but it is capturing a community. The lawyer for the Johnsburg man accused of manslaughter and murder in the death of his young, only weeks-old daughter, is asking the judge to dismiss all charges due to insufficient evidence. His lawyer insists that the authorities in the case improperly subpoenaed private documents and video recorded him without the right to.
Nicholas D. Jones’s lawyers are asking the Warren Country Judge John Hall to dismiss his indictment. He argues that the case against Jones does not have the evidence needed to prosecute for depraved indifference to a human life as it is stated. The sticking point is that he has not been accused of “intentionally” killing his just 22-day old daughter Gabriella Jones, the murder was caused by his callous acts of throwing and shaking her around when she awoke him early on the morning of March 28th.
Shaken baby syndrome is nothing new and certainly nothing that has ever been dismissed in a court of law. What is questionable is the way that the authorities obtained the evidence they needed to prosecute Mr. Jones. Tucker Stanclift, Jones’s lawyer, claims that he was recorded by officials without being told that he was being videotaped, and, therefore, it is inadmissible in a court of law. Even worse, they told him that they would not be recording the conversation.
Also, a contention is the way that the subpoena was sent over. Not following protocol, it was faxed over while they were already seeking the medical files of the death of his daughter. That was not supposed to be done until the subpoena was in hand for the documents and a search of the Jones’s home. Highly illegal, it is tantamount to illegal search and seizure and cannot be used as evidence. Warren County Sherriff Bud York maintains that there was not any videotaping without the defendant’s knowledge and consent.
The depraved indifference prosecution has been an issue in recent years, and appeal courts around the nation have found that if someone shows a lack of reasonable concern or care for a victim, even if they try to help after injuring them, it is still prosecutable. The case used to set precedence for this one was the 2007 Glens Falls child death case whereby the mother, Alicia Lewie, was originally convicted and then the case was overturned in the appeals court. She was released of depraved indifference charge, but the manslaughter charge was still upheld.
The workers compensation lawyer Los Angeles, insists that even if Jones was the cause of the injuries of his daughter, his immediate response to get the baby help, was evidence that he didn’t have depraved indifference. The fact that he took the baby for care proves that he did care and that the allegations can’t stand.
Stanclift noted that for depraved indifference to stand, he would have to show that he had an indifference to whether she lived or died, which is not what the actions he took demonstrates. He also insists that any video recordings that the prosecution holds may not be entered into evidence. Jones’s then lawyer, Robert Gregor, was told that his statements in the interrogation room would not be videotaped.
The prosecution intends to proceed with seeking a murder charge in this case. Nothing can proceed until the ruling about the plea discussion and the evidence motions are both ruled on. Even if the case is dismissed due to the legalities of the current case, it is likely that it will proceed to another grand jury indictment where the vide tapes would not be entered into evidence. Jones is facing twenty-five years to life for his actions. If he is convicted of second-degree murder for manslaughter, he could face up to 25 years.
Until the matters of this case are settled, Jones will remain behind bars without bail, and no new court date has been announced as of yet. What happens, in this case, may have implications for many shaken baby syndrome cases across the nation and the way that they are prosecuted.