Idaho court tosses conviction of man linked to 2 killings
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court on Thursday threw out the conviction of a man serving a life sentence for orchestrating the killings of two people he suspected of stealing 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) of marijuana from him.
A hearing will now be held by a lower court to determine whether prosecutors properly used evidence in the case against Anthony Robins Jr., the Idaho Statesman reported.
Robins, 37, was sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after a jury convicted him of aiding and abetting in the deaths of Elliot Bailey and Travontae Calloway and the attempted murder of Jeanette Juraska.
At the time prosecutors said Robins was a drug supplier who orchestrated the killings of Calloway and Bailey after the pair stole 30 pounds of marijuana from him. Juraska, who was Calloway’s girlfriend, was shot in the arm but survived.
Another man, John C. Douglas, was convicted of carrying out the shootings and also sentenced to life in prison.
The Supreme Court’s decision centered on whether prosecutors improperly used notes Robins made while he was preparing for his trial to craft their arguments. The notes were seized from Robins’ jail cell while deputies were searching for a letter that another inmate claimed would show Robins was trying to coordinate his story with others involved in the case.
The deputies didn’t find the letter in Robins’ cell, but they did turn over the notes to prosecutors. The letter was later given to prosecutors by the other inmate’s attorney.
The lower court said the notes couldn’t be used by prosecutors because Robins created them at the request of his defense attorney, so they were protected by attorney-client privilege rules. Prosecutors were allowed to use the letter.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court found the entire letter shouldn’t have been used in the trial. The justices also said Ada County prosecutors now need to prove that they relied on their own evidence and arguments — rather than the information they’d seen in Robins’ notes — in crafting their case against Robins.
If prosecutors fail, then the district court could order that Robins’ case be retried, possibly with a different prosecutor’s office, or that the charges be dismissed.
Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com