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Indictment dropped in Ithaca hospital assault

A Tompkins County Judge has dismissed the indictment against one of the men accused of participating in an attempted gang assault at Cayuga Medical Center in May 2010.In a decision dated Wednesday (July 13, 2011) Judge John Rowley ruled that the assistant district attorney who presented the case against James Marshall to the grand jury failed to provide sufficient evidence of Marshall’s involvement and “violated his duty of ‘fair dealing to the accused.”Rowley’s decision came after Marshall’s attorney, Steven Getman, filed motions to dismiss the case for lack of evidence and due to defective grand jury proceedings. As part of that motion, Getman had argued that the prosecution did not provide the grand jury with evidence of Marshall’s repeated denials of guilt to the police.The district attorney’s office opposed the dismissal. However, after reviewing the grand jury record, Rowley found that the prosecutor hadpresented a legally insufficient case and created a false impression that the police had convincing proof that the defendant admitted his involvement in the crimes.Prosecutors alleged that Marshall and three other men entered the emergency room at Cayuga Medical Center last May, where a man they had allegedly been in a fight with was being treated for injuries. According to the original charges, the other three prevented staff from intervening while Marshal allegedly hit the patient.The three other men, Johnny F. Lucena, his son Johnny J. Lucena and Timothy Daniels, were cleared of the gang assault charges in aNovember 2010 trial, but found guilty of burglary and conspiracy charges. Marshall was not part of that trial, and the prosecution referred to the fourth attacker only by a nickname.Later, in April 2011, Rowley threw out those convictions, after the district attorney’s office conceded that errors had occurred requiring a new trial. The three later pleaded guilty to reduced charges.Marshall was arrested on these charges in February 2011 and pleaded not guilty. He was originally scheduled to go to trial later this month. However, with the order of dismissal the trial has been cancelled.The court’s decision today grants the district attorney some time to attempt to re-indict Marshall on the charges. It is not yet known whether they will attempt to do so.

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