KCUR News
4:53 am
Thu February 12, 2009

Judge Finds Fraud In Prosecution, Tosses 22-Year Sentence

Facing a judge's finding of misconduct by a subordinate, the Jackson County Prosecutor pledges to continue the case against a man who may have been wrongly convicted.

Circuit Judge Edith Messina has ruled Matthew Davis should not have been convicted in a strange 2004 case in which a woman's dead body was abandoned in the River Market district. The woman had died of a drug overdose at his apartment. Davis argued he had tried to help police, tried to reach a lawyer for advice. Defense could find no record to support that. Davis pleaded guilty and went to prison for 22 years. The judge now says evidence in the defendant's favor was hidden, the court was defrauded.

Patrick Peters now defends Davis and told KCUR:

"While it is unheard of for 260 pages not to have been disclosed, it seems to be a problem that's growing. Deliberately or not, the defense doesn't wind up with everything they're supposed to have."

Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said he does not condone breaches in ethics and runs a clean office. He has asked The Missouri Bar Association to investigate the judge's accusations against his assistant Dan Miller, who had the case.

"In the meantime my office will continue to pursue the criminal prosecution of Matthew Davis," Kanatzar said.

And Kanatzar said the assistant prosecutor will continue in his current job.