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Daryl Atkins Commuted to Life in VA

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Moh:
Prosecutorial misconduct case against York-Poquoson commonwealth's attorney moves forward

By Jon Cawley
March 6, 2010

YORK
York-Poquoson Commonwealth's Attorney Eileen Addison and Newport News attorney Cathy Krinick will face Virginia State Bar misconduct hearings regarding the 1998 capital murder trial of Daryl Atkins.

The State Bar's Sixth District Subcommittee met on Dec. 4 regarding allegations of misconduct against Addison and Krinick and certified those complaints to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. The committee's findings were mailed to Addison and Krinick on Feb. 11.

The misconduct complaints were filed by Atkins' attorney, George Rogers III, and, according to bar documents, stemmed from attorney Leslie Smith's accusation that Addison and Krinick withheld information in the case of co-defendants Atkins and William Jones, who were charged with the August 1996 abduction, robbery and murder by firearm of Eric Nesbitt, a Langley Air Force airman.

Smith was Jones' attorney in the case. Krinick is a former York prosecutor who was in private practice but was assisting Addison in the case, according to State Bar documents and Addison.

Atkins was eventually convicted and sentenced to death for being the triggerman in Nesbitt's death. Jones testified against Atkins and was sentenced to life in prison plus three years for his role in the crime.

In 2002, Atkins' death penalty case received national attention when it came before the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in a landmark ruling that executing the mentally retarded is unconstitutional.

Barbara Lanier, the clerk of the bar's disciplinary system, said both Addison and Krinick have requested that their misconduct hearings take place in circuit court before a three-judge panel. Nothing has been scheduled yet, and Lanier said she does not know in which circuit court the hearings would be held.

According to State Bar documents, Smith contends that Addison and Krinick coached his client during a pretrial meeting to make his testimony better conform to physical evidence in the case and withheld related information from Atkins' defense attorney regarding a re-enactment of the crime and drawings that were made while a tape recorder was turned off.

After the meeting, Smith was concerned about Addison and Krinick's conduct and notified Jones' lead attorney, Timothy Clancy, the same day. At that time, Smith was told by the State Bar's ethics department that he could not disclose his concerns "due to his obligation to his client," the bar documents state.

In 2007, Smith again contacted the bar. On two dates, in December 2007 and January 2008, the late Circuit Court Judge Prentis Smiley Jr. heard evidence in the matter of the lawyer's accusations and ultimately commuted Atkins' sentence from death to life imprisonment as a result. The Virginia Supreme Court upheld Smiley's ruling last June.

Reached Friday, Addison said she looks forward to a hearing to settle the matter, which has been in the bar's hands for more than two years. In the meantime, Addison said she would continue in her normal capacity as commonwealth's attorney.

"I adamantly deny anything was withheld," Addison said. "Atkins' attorney had everything. He knew everything that went on in that room."

An attempt to reach Krinick on Friday was unsuccessful. Atkins' father, Phillip Atkins, said Friday that he is aware of the pending misconduct proceedings, but he refused to discuss anything regarding his son or the case.

On Friday, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference cited the misconduct allegations against Addison in calling for her resignation and further investigation of the York-Poquoson Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

In its certification, the bar subcommittee concluded that Addison and Krinick's conduct "constitutes misconduct" in violation of eight provisions of the bar's disciplinary rules.

The bar documents cited stipulations in the rules that lawyers not commit a crime or other deliberately wrongful act; engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentations; conceal or fail to disclose that which is required by law; knowingly use perjured testimony or false evidence; or participate in the creation or preservation of evidence that is known to be false.

Further, sections stating that lawyers should reveal fraud committed by someone other than his client, should not disregard a standing rule and make timely disclosures of evidence to the defense that "tends to negate the guilt of the accused, mitigate the degree of the offense, or reduce the punishment" were also cited in the subcommittee certification.

In the event of a finding against Addison and Krinick, the disciplinary board or a three-judge circuit court panel if that is the case has the power to hand down punishments ranging from a public reprimand to license revocation, Lanier said.

Local case resulted in landmark ruling
Daryl Atkins, right, was convicted and sentenced to death for the killing of Eric Nesbitt, a Langley Air Force airman. Atkins' case got national attention when it came before the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in a landmark ruling that executing the mentally retarded is unconstitutional. York-Poquoson Commonwealth's Attorney Eileen Addison, left, denies accusations she withheld evidence during Atkins' 1998 trial.

What's next?
Hearings for Eileen Addison and Cathy Krinick will be held in circuit court. Nothing has been scheduled yet, and it is not known in which of the region's circuit courts the hearings will be held.

http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-local_addison_0306mar06,0,2755934.story

heidi salazar:
Newport News attorney's misconduct charges dropped
Death penalty case led to U.S. Supreme Court ruling

Misconduct charges against Newport News attorney Cathy Krinick have been formally dismissed in Williamsburg-James City Circuit Court where she was scheduled to have a two-day hearing starting today.

The move comes as no surprise after identical allegations were dismissed July 19 against York-Poquoson Commonwealth's Attorney Eileen Addison. A three-judge Circuit Court panel found there was no evidence to support the charges.

Krinick and Addison were accused of coaching William Jones in the capital murder trial of Daryl Atkins and withholding information from Atkins' defense attorney. Atkins and Jones were co-defendants in the 1996 robbery and murder of Langley Air Force Airman Eric Nesbitt.

The misconduct allegations made by attorney Leslie P. Smith led to Atkins' death penalty sentence being overturned in 2008. He is serving life in prison.

A two-day proceeding for Krinick in Williamsburg-James City Circuit Court was scheduled to begin today but the hearing was removed from the docket.

Court records, that show the case was dismissed, give a final order date of July 29. Rumors had persisted for weeks that the case against Krinick would be dropped but nothing was filed in the court until recently.

http://articles.dailypress.com/2010-08-31/news/dp-nws-williamsburg-krinick-20100831_1_misconduct-death-penalty-cathy-krinick

heidi salazar:
Female justice picked to lead
Justice Cynthia Kinser is the first female chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.

Justice Cynthia Kinser was elected by her peers Tuesday to become the next chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, making her the first woman to hold the top post on the state's highest court.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/258866



And why is this relevant? She dissented on Atkins's claim!

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