Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mother Goes Undercover to Gather Evidence

Vanity Fair gives an inside look at a very unusual post-trial investigation. Christopher Ketcham on Doreen Giuliano's Quest for Justice: About Us: vanityfair.com, Jan. 2009 (posted Nov. 28, 2008).

After her son, John Giuca, was convicted in a high-profile murder case, Doreen Giuliano wondered what she could do besides sending snacks to him in prison. Eventually the Brooklyn woman determined that she would gather information about jurors, hoping to find something that would get her son a new trial.

She followed her prime target for months, and then ramped up her efforts. She changed her appearance (losing weight, going to a tanning salon, dying her hair) and rented an apartment near him. She made a point to show up on his street and, with some strategic flirting, managed to strike up a friendship with him. After months of shared meals, wine, and marijuana, she finally got the former juror to say that he had lied during voir dire, revealing the fact that he had known some of the witnesses. Ketcham writes:

The law is clear: John Giuca, based on the evidence secretly gathered by his mother—along with other discrepancies in witness testimony—may very well be entitled to a new trial. Even if Allo didn’t understand the questions during voir dire of a connection to Giuca, under his oath as a juror he was obliged, once their intersecting circles became apparent, to inform the court of this conflict.

In addition, according to Doreen’s affidavit, which attorney Epstein has prepared to file in court, Allo also admitted on tape that he used to hang with members of the Ghetto Mafia (the gang prosecutors contend Giuca belonged to), that Allo’s cousin had dated a woman whose family’s house was used for Ghetto Mafia meetings, and that during the trial this cousin and Allo discussed events related to the case, referring to Giuca as a gang big shot named Slim. “It virtually demands a reversal of the conviction,” says Ezra B. Glaser, a legal adviser to Doreen. “There are New York State and U.S. Supreme Court precedents. He [Allo] knew what he did was improper.”

One thing I wonder: why did Ms. Giuliano, her attorney, and her son's attorney decide to give details to and pose for pictures for the Vanity Fair reporter before filing anything in court? The article was posted on VF's website on Friday; papers were filed on Monday.

Other coverage:


Postergal said...

Indeed, a mother can do everything for her child. In this case, Doreen had triumphed.

shari said...

Whoa - interesting to me as a mom and someone who works at the law school. What a story.