The Washington Post

Fairfax judge dismisses case against Maligie Conteh after two trials

The three-and-a-half year legal odyssey of an immigrant who was found guilty of robbery in Fairfax County, had the conviction overturned and then faced a second trial on the same charge that ended in a deadlocked jury reached a conclusion Monday.

Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy L. Bellows dismissed the case after prosecutors said they would not pursue yet another trial against Maligie Conteh.

A mistrial was declared in Conteh’s second trial last week, after the jury could not reach a verdict. A poll of jurors showed they were leaning 11-to-1 against convicting the Alexandria man, who is from Sierra Leone.

Conteh was originally found guilty of stealing $150 from a man at the Plaza at Landmark Shopping Center in 2010. The victim and sole witness identified Conteh as the perpetrator.

But a judge overturned the conviction in September, saying Fairfax County prosecutors had unintentionally failed to turn over evidence that would have cast doubt on the victim’s credibility.

Conteh served more than a year in jail and was facing deportation, before the conviction was overturned.


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