Miller

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris, left, escorts Bryce Miller, right, out of the Pittsburg County Courthouse after Miller was charged with first-degree murder. 

A motion to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against a McAlester teen is among two motions set for argument Wednesday.

Attorneys earlier this month for Bryce Miller, 17, filed a motion to dismiss or in the alternative exclude evidence due to discovery violations.

Miller was charged in June 2019 with first-degree murder for the shooting death of 16-year-old Jaylen Nelson.

Miller’s attorneys, Brecken Wagner and David Smith, write in the motion that the case should be dismissed for violation of the court’s discovery orders and violation of Miller’s constitutional right to due process.

Wagner wrote that it is the government’s responsibility to “fully vet” their cases before proceeding to trials and to make available any evidence that may tend to show the defendant’s innocence.

A rule covering the practice of law in the state was cited as saying prosecutors must give up “all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense” unless a protective order is in place.

“There is not (a) protective order in this case, and therefore no excuse why this rule has not been followed in by any member of this District Attorney’s office,” the motion states.

The motion claims District Attorney Chuck Sullivan employs a “’hide and seek’ or in more recent years, ‘just hide’ as much evidence for as long as possible from the defense.”

“This particular case is a glaring example of this flawed and contemptuous policy,” Wagner wrote in the motion.

Court documents filed in the case shows a mutual discovery deadline was set in the case in December for Jan. 31. The new deadline was set after the prosecution’s motion to continue the scheduled January trial was granted due to the “Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has not yet completed their forensic review of all the evidence submitted.”

Prosecutors filed a motion to extend discovery deadline on OSBI lab on Jan. 24, stating that the OSBI “has not yet completed their forensic review of all of the evidence submitted” and that the DA’s office has no control over the OSBI’s case load or management of the same.

According to the defense’s motion to dismiss, “In most jurisdictions, it’s a common practice to gather up the evidence in a case before charging someone with a crime, or at the very least, know what evidence you have within six months of charging someone with a crime.”

Wagner also writes in the motion that what evidence that was received from the DA’s office before the deadline “could not be opened or started” from the disc provided and submitted emails written between the law office and the DA’s office in regards to the evidence issue.

Wagner wrote in the motion that the course set by the courts “has been jut to turn a blind eye to this behavior from the government” with deadlines being extended and evidence turned over so late “that the defense could never fairly prepare” for trial.

“There is no indication at this point that the defendant will receive a fair trial and the immediate remedy for this would be dismissal. It would also possibly have the secondary effect of ending this ‘just hide’ practice of the state,” the motion states.

Miller’s attorneys ask for the case to be dismissed, or in the alternative, preclude any evidence that has not been exchanged with defense counsel, and any other relief “including but not limited to monetary sanctions and attorney’s fees and costs that he may be entitled to as a matter of law.”

Arguments on the defense’s motion to dismiss along with prosecutor’s motion to extend discovery are scheduled to be heard at 4 p.m. Wednesday in front of Pittsburg County Associate District Judge Tim Mills.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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