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County ADA resigns after indictment blunders

Feb 12, 2011 10:19 am
When the story first arose, it looked like an anomaly, a typical situation where human error gets the better of a situation. But given the way we look at government these days, and crime-stopping as a key component of our society, it seems the pulled indictment if a Columbia County man in what had appeared to be a cut and dry shooting case has expanded, with the Register-Star reporting on February 12 that Assistant District Attorney John Hillman has resigned his position with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office as a result of what happened when Terrance Robinson’s indictment had to be pulled earlier this week as he was about to go to trial in connection to a shooting in Hudson last March. Robinson had been indicted on second-degree assault, a class D felony, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony, in relation to the shooting of 26-year-old Jayson Williams, who was shot in the leg during an argument on Columbia Street in Hudson March 9 of last year. On February 9, Robinson was set to go to trial in Columbia County Court in Hudson when two witnesses' testimony went wary, with revelations that Hillman had known before the original grand jury proceedings in the case last summer that the witnesses had allegedly lied to police about not being able to identify Robinson, and that he had discussions with them concerning whether they should identify the defendant in the grand jury proceedings. This, the judge in the case said, uncovered potential problems with the integrity of the grand jury proceedings and possible violations concerning the prosecution failing to notify the defense of these issues. This, in turn, led to the District Attorney’s Office pulling the indictment, which now cannot be brought to trial again. Thursday Hillman left his position with the agency, according to the District Attorney’s Office. "It is not known whether ethics complaints will be brought against the former ADA," the story concludes, noting that Robinson is still facing prison time for selling crack to an undercover sheriff’s deputy in 2009, for which he is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29. Got all that?
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