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Defense in child slaying to get jurors' names

September 25, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- An attorney for a Hagerstown man convicted of killing a child is entitled to jurors' names, a judge has ruled.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III ruled Tuesday that the clerk of the court must give defense attorney Jason W. Shoemaker the names within 30 days, but not their addresses or other identifying information.

At a hearing last week, Shoemaker, who represents Floyd Edward Bingaman III, said he wanted the names so the defense could do "a background check" on the people.

Shoemaker said he wouldn't contact jurors, but he wanted to check if they made misstatements when they were impaneled.

Bingaman was convicted in November 2007 of killing 4-month-old Justice Christopher Calvin Myers-Cannon and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In court, Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael objected to Shoemaker's motion, saying it was an old issue -- to be decided at trial or in a motion for a new trial.

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Also, the defense had jurors' names during the trial, Michael said.

Shoemaker, who didn't represent Bingaman during the trial, said in an interview after last week's hearing that he didn't have the names.

A jury convicted Bingaman of involuntary manslaughter, first-degree child abuse and second-degree assault in the January 2007 death of the boy. He was found not guilty of first- and second-degree murder.

Authorities said Justice had severe head injuries.

At the time, Bingaman was dating Justice's mother, Ashley Myers.

Maryland's criminal procedure rules requires an attorney to return the list of jurors to the jury commissioner at the end of the trial. However, that rule wasn't in place at the time of Bingaman's trial.

The rule "should not act to bind the court in this case and the court is not precluded from release of the juror names, and only the names, to defense counsel, conditioned that the list is not disseminated beyond those entities (covered in the rule)," Boone wrote.

"As an aside," Boone added, "it would appear that the easier method to obtain the names requested was to examine the Defendant's trial counsel file."

Scott Rolle, who represented Bingaman during the trial, did not return a message left Friday at his law office.

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