Court keeps Thompson off case
Justices let appellate ruling stand; Haddock to preside over Moore retrial
By Sheryl Marsh
Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson will not preside over the second trial of Daniel Wade Moore in the Karen Tipton murder case.
The Alabama Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Criminal Appeals that Thompson should not hear the capital murder case.
The Supreme Court issued a decision Tuesday, denying a petition that Moore’s attorney Sherman Powell Jr. filed. Powell had asked the high court to set aside the appellate court decision ousting Thompson.
The Supreme Court ruling simply stated that Powell’s petition is denied. It did not give a reason.
When granting Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska’s petition to remove Thompson from the case, the appeals court stated that Valeska had shown it would present “an appearance of impropriety” for Thompson to stay in the case.
Valeska stated in his petition that Thompson made negative comments about state evidence and Valeska didn’t believe the state could get a fair trial.
Assistant Attorney General Will Dill, who assisted in prosecuting Moore in 2002, was elated about Tuesday’s ruling.
“We’re looking forward to the retrial of this case,” Dill said. “And, as I said before, we’re extremely confident that once 12 citizens of Morgan County hear the evidence in this case, especially the DNA evidence that the case centers around, they’ll reach the same verdict that the first jury did.”
No more appeals
Powell said he will not file any more appeals.
“I think it’s just great, we’ll proceed and Judge (Steve) Haddock will set it for trial,” Powell said. “We were really anxious to get a ruling and that one is not a surprise at all. It’s too late to get it tried this month. We hope to get it tried before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
“I must say that’s about the fastest ruling we’ve had out of the appellate courts, ever.”
Haddock said last month that he would preside over the case, if the Supreme Court upheld the appellate court ruling. At the time, Haddock explained, he and the other two circuit judges rotate trying capital murder cases and it’s his turn.
A jury convicted Moore, 33, of capital murder in November 2002 and recommended life without parole. Thompson sentenced him to death, but later set aside the conviction and sentence to grant him a new trial.
In February 2005 Thompson dismissed the charges and freed Moore. The freedom lasted about four days. The appellate court ruled in favor of a petition Valeska filed asking for a reversal of Thompson’s action.
Thompson stated in his ruling that Moore would be placed in double jeopardy and would not get a fair trial. He said Valeska withheld evidence, such as a 245-page FBI report, and accused the prosecutor of misconduct.
The appellate court granted a petition Valeska filed asking the court to reverse Thompson and reinstate the charges. The appellate court upheld Thompson’s decision to give Moore a new trial.
Authorities allege that Moore went to Tipton’s home in Southwest Decatur on March 12, 1999, and stabbed her to death. Police developed Moore as a suspect after he told his uncle that he was in the home when his friend killed Tipton, 39.
He recanted the story, however, saying he told his uncle that because he feared going back to jail. Moore had been in jail for theft before police arrested him for Tipton’s murder.
He remains in the County Jail, awaiting the second trial.
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