The state’s highest court has agreed to take arguments over whether a new trial will be given to John Giuca, a Brooklyn man convicted of murdering a New Jersey college student more than a decade ago.
Court of Appeals Judge Rowan Wilson granted prosecutors leave to appeal a decision from the Appellate Division, Second Department that threw out Giuca’s conviction in February. The court usually takes about 11 months between granting leave and hearing oral arguments on a case.
Giuca’s attorneys have argued prosecutors from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office withheld evidence about John Avitto, a man who testified during Giuca’s trial in 2005. Avitto said at trial that Giuca admitted he was involved in the student’s death while both of them were housed on Rikers Island. Giuca said that never happened.
Mark Bederow, a criminal defense attorney with his own practice in Manhattan, is representing Giuca on the appeal. He said prosecutors withheld several facts about Avitto during trial, including that he did not come forward with testimony about Giuca until he left a court-mandated drug treatment program without permission.
“It is disappointing this will result in Giuca languishing at Rikers for another year, however I have every expectation that the court will affirm the Appellate Division’s unanimous opinion and emphasize for all state courts that prosecutors must disclose evidence that might reasonably lead a jury to conclude that a witness is biased in favor of the prosecution,” Bederow said Friday. A spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors are looking forward to presenting their case to the state’s highest court.
“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals agreed to hear this case and we look forward to presenting our arguments in court,” the spokesman said.
Giuca was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to serve 25 years to life for the murder of New Jersey college student Mark Fisher.