Wicomico State’s Attorney vacates 9 year old conviction
SALISBURY, Md. – The Wicomico County States Attorney’s Office is vacating a 2013 conviction after it was found crucial evidence was never turned over to the defense.
The 2013 conviction of Aaron Carey hinged on a key witness, whose testimony could have been impeached based on the evidence available to Salisbury Police, and the former Assistant State’s Attorney, but was never introduced in discovery, constituting a due process and 14th amendment violation according to current State’s Attorney Jaime Dykes.
“In 2013 Mr. Carey was not afforded information that is exculpatory or tends to impeach a state’s witness, that witness was key in Mr. Carey’s conviction,” Dykes said.
The witness had also testified against Carey during a prior 2011 burglary conviction.
The information came from a GPS device that was sitting in Salisbury’s Police Evidence room, that Carey, Carey’s defense, and jurors in the case had no knowledge of. But others did have knowledge of the evidence.
“The prosecutor who prosecuted him in 2011 and 2013 had that information and certain members of Salisbury police had that information,” Dykes said.
The missing evidence came to light as a result of an internal investigation into the Salisbury Police Department’s evidence room.
Wicomico County State’s Attorney Dykes tells us the prosecutor kept that information to themselves, with the omission only in evidence only becoming clear during auditing of the police department evidence room. The vacated conviction is the manifestation of the office’s duty to give Carey a fair trial.
“Everyone in this office for the last nine years was charged with knowing that information, and we did not, so in over 600 cases that were affected by the property room disclosures were made in order to remedy what had been an almost decade long failure,” Dykes said.
The case was presented to a Wicomico County District Court judge by Assistant State’s Attorney and Chief of the Prosecution Integrity Unit Patrick M. Gilbert.
“We are looking at cases, we are remedying instances that we identify where things went wrong, but another side of this coin is that Mr.Carey didn’t get a fair trial in 2013 and he should have,” he said,
Gilbert and Dykes say they hope the unit, and this case, can bolster public trust in the system, and that belief that wrongdoing can be corrected in the criminal justice system.
“I hope the community can look at this office and see we are not afraid to take a hard look at what we’ve done,” Gilbert said.
Carey took a plea with prosecutors to sixteen years, suspend all but just under nine years, of which five years was a mandatory minimum. Carey was placed on supervised probation for a term of three years.