News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2007

Judge calls prosecutor a liar
Thompson refuses to step
aside from Moore murder case

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson called Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska a liar in his response to Valeska's request for him to remove himself from the capital murder case of Daniel Wade Moore.

Moore, 33, awaits a second trial for the stabbing death of Karen Tipton.

"He can lie to me personally all he wants, but I will not allow him to lie to the court," Thompson stated in a response he filed with the state Court of Criminal Appeals.

Thompson explained.

"Throughout the trial of the case, the defense counsel repeatedly requested that they be given access to material collected by the Decatur Police Department and submitted to the FBI, as well as any information provided by the FBI to the Decatur Police Department. Knowing full well that his representations to the Circuit Court of Morgan County were untrue, Mr. Valeska repeatedly represented that no such material existed," Thompson's response states.

Valeska filed a petition in circuit court nine months ago asking Thompson to recuse himself from the case. The prosecutor alleged that Thompson was not neutral and that it was "clearly evidenced by the court's written order granting the motion to dismiss the indictment."

Valeska also said Thompson made disparaging comments about the state's evidence in the case.

Request appealed

Thompson denied Valeska's motion and said he will remain on the case. Valeska appealed the judge's decision to the state Court of Criminal Appeals and awaits a ruling.

The appeals court gave Thompson an opportunity to respond to Valeska's motion.

Thompson said in the response that he never made inappropriate comments about the case.

"I deny making any findings that the state's case was insufficient. The orders I have entered speak for themselves," Thompson wrote.

In addition, Thompson said he did not make inappropriate comments about the state's case.

The judge explained his position on dismissing the capital murder charges against Moore.

"This court found that the actions of Assistant Attorney General Valeska representing the state of Alabama were so egregious that the only appropriate remedy under the law and the facts was to dismiss the charges pending against the defendant."

Thompson explained that he took that action after initially granting Moore a new trial. He said at the time that a motion Moore's attorneys filed asking him to dismiss the case was in abeyance pending the ruling on a petition that Valeska filed with the appeals court opposing a new trial.

Once the higher court affirmed Thompson's ruling, he granted the defense motion to dismiss the charges in 2005. The appellate court, however, reversed that decision and had Thompson reinstate the charges and give Moore a new trial.

Thompson did so and has set the trial for July 30.

In his response Thompson tells the appellate court how he was fair in the case and did not show favoritism for Moore. Thompson explained how a jury convicted Moore of capital murder and recommended life without parole.

He said because he weighed aggravating circumstances, such as the crime being unusually atrocious and heinous, he sentenced Moore to death.

Later, he overturned the conviction and sentence, instead granting a new trial.

Thompson said if Valeska had complied with the court's order to share evidence with the defense, a new trial would not have been required on the grounds of non-compliance of discovery materials.

Also, Thompson commented on Valeska's courtroom behavior.

"He refused to turn off his cell phone and after warning, allowed his cell phone to ring in court repeatedly," Thompson stated. "It is my recollection, although I am not certain of the exact number, that on at least six occasions Mr. Valeska's cell phone rang in open court. This court refrained from finding him in contempt although after each session he was repeatedly warned not to allow his cell phone to ring in court."

Thompson further stated in his response that Valeska would be treated fairly in his courtroom during Moore's second trial.

"I can assure the Court of Criminal Appeals that Mr. Valeska, if he appears for the re-trial of Mr. Moore, has nothing to fear from this court so long as he tells the whole truth without parsing words and turns off his cell phone," Thompson stated. "Not only will the state of Alabama get a fair trial but the defendant will also get a fair trial."

Valeska declined to comment on Thompson's response, saying it's with the appellate court.

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