Monday, December 03, 2007

Border Patrol agent’s attorneys request materials from prosecution. Attorney asking the prosecution to produce material that is favorable to the defendant or affects the credibility of the state’s case

BISBEE — An attorney representing a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with murdering an illegal immigrant is asking the prosecution to produce material that is favorable to the defendant or affects the credibility of the state’s case.

Nicholas Corbett, 39, is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide of a 22-year-old Mexican named Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera.

Sean Chapman, the lead defense attorney representing Corbett, filed the motion for disclosure of the information on Friday in U.S. District Court in Tucson.“Evidence is material as long as there is a strong indication that it will play an important role in uncovering admissible evidence, aiding witness preparation, corroborating testimony, or assisting impeachment or rebuttal,” the motion says.

Chapman is requesting the disclosure of various items pertaining to the defendant, including documents, statements, reports, tangible evidence, notes and memos.

He also is asking for evidence regarding state witnesses, such as prior criminal records, biases, prior inconsistent statements, investigations and failed polygraph tests.

Chapman is seeking information on negotiated dispositions between the government and individuals in exchange for testimony. And he is seeking the disclosure of promises, agreements, benefits or money provided by authorities to witnesses and their family or friends in exchange for cooperation.

If the state has any of the above-requested items or the items required by the rules, law or court order, but refuses to provide them to the defense, defendant requests a statement as to the existence of the items and the refusal to provide them,” the motion says.

The case is scheduled for trial starting Feb. 26. The deadline for a plea agreement is Feb. 8. A pre-trial conference will be held Dec. 17.

In an e-mail sent to Wick News Service on Friday, Grant Woods, the lead special prosecutor for the case, says he is aware Chapman filed the motion.

We are in the process of turning over everything to which the defense is entitled. If there is any information that we are unable to obtain from proper federal authorities, we will take that up with the judge in December,” Woods said.

Corbett killed Dominguez Rivera with his service pistol while he was patrolling the border about eight miles east of Naco in January.

The defendant has reportedly claimed the victim assaulted him with a rock as he was trying to apprehend him for violating U.S. immigration laws.

The Cochise County Attorney’s Office charged Corbett in the death in April based on evidence that includes FBI investigations and forensic reports that contradict his official account of the events

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