An Arlington Circuit Court judge declared a mistrial yesterday in a case involving the alleged abduction and rape of a 13-year-old Alexandria girl. Attorneys defending Leon Robinson, the man charged with the crimes, was deprived of evidence by the prosecuting attorney.
"I think the (evidence) is of such importance to the defense that it should have been produced," Judge Charles S. Russell said. "I don't think it's a case of deliberate prosecutorial injustice . . . I think it was an error."
The evidence in question was a statement made by the girl shortly after she was picked up by police. It does not mention Robinson. Police said later statements made by the girl to police, do mention Robinson's name, thereby allegedly implicating him in the abduction and rape.
Assistant commonwealth's attorney Kenneth E. Melson said that he did not know the statements existed when the defense lawyers got a court order in August to see all the prosecution's evidence. He said it was an "unintentional oversight" that the statement was not later given to the defense lawyers.
One of Robinson's attorneys, William Dolan, reacted angrily when he first learned that the statement existed after nearly a half day of testimony Monday and accused the prosecution of misconduct.
"There has to be a point when government misconduct is too much . . . ," he said. "This goes beyond a mere error . . . It goes right to this man's (Robinson's) right for a fair trial."
Judge Russell failed to dismiss the charges against Robinson and declared a mistrial instead, which allows the prosecution to retry the case. The new trial has been scheduled for May 15.