Former North Carolina Prosecutor Accused of Withholding Evidence in Second Capital Case
Former Union County prosecutor Scott Brewer, who is already under investigation for allegedly obstructing justice in the 1996 death penalty trial of John Gregory Hoffman, has been accused of withholding important evidence in a second capital trial. Attorneys representing Darrell Strickland have asked the North Carolina State Bar to discipline Brewer for improperly withholding three statements made by the victims' wife, Gail Brown, the only eyewitness to the crime for which their client was sentenced to die. During Strickland's 1996 trial, his defense attorneys had asked Brewer for the statements and were told that none existed. Lawyers who later took up Strickland's case found three such statements in Brewer's file, including information that contradicts Brown's trial testimony that indicated the murder was premeditated. Strickland's attorneys note that their client may have been spared the death penalty if the statements had been disclosed. A judge recently ruled that Brewer improperly kept information from lawyers for Strickland, but the judge did not grant him a new trial.
In January 2006, the North Carolina State Bar issued a memo accusing Brewer and another attorney of not telling a trial judge or defense attorneys about a key witness' testimony deal in the 1996 death penalty trial of Hoffman. The association accused both attorneys of committing felony obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury. Hoffman has since been removed from death row and granted a new trial. Current Union County District Attorney Michael Parker is reviewing the bar's findings in the Hoffman case and is yet to decide whether to charge Brewer.
(Associated Press, March 31, 2006). See Arbitrariness and Innocence.