WI COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF HOMICIDE CHARGE FOR MASTANTUONO LAW CLIENT
Nov. 29, 2012
Mastantuono Law Office released the press statement below today, following a favorable decision in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirming the Burnett County Circuit Court’s dismissal of a homicide prosecution against one of our clients. Our client defended himself with a firearm in his own home against a hostile intruder. The State charged him with homicide, alleging his actions in self-defense were unreasonable. When key evidence favorable to our client turned up missing, we moved to dismiss the case. The trial judge agreed. See the Minneapolis Star Tribune story on the trial Judge’s dismissal here.
Today, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge’s decision. We feel this decision, recommended for publication, has important implications for the due process rights of those investigated and charged by the government, and for holding the government to reasonable standards of care when conducting such investigations.
For immediate release: The defense agrees with the Court of Appeals’ ruling in favor of Mr. Huggett and rejecting the State’s position, which was an effort to convince the Court to break from established legal authority and allow the government to avoid responsibility for losing critical evidence during an important investigation. Mr. Huggett cooperated fully with police following a nighttime break-in at his home carried out by the decedent and two other men, during which Mr. Huggett was forced to defend himself and the others in his home. He gave evidence to police regarding the decedent’s actions and his threats – contained in voicemails from the same evening as the incident and accessed through his cell phone – and trusted that this evidence would be preserved. Instead, authorities lost the evidence, and then sought to hold Mr. Huggett responsible for that loss in this case and appeal. Mr. Huggett feels vindicated by this decision rejecting the State’s position, and sincerely hopes to put this entire unfortunate incident behind himself and his family.