Thursday, March 20, 2014
AZMEX EXTRA 20-3-14
AZMEX EXTRA 20 MAR 2014
New trial for NM gun smugglers overturned
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:21 am
DEMING, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court has denied a new trial for a New Mexico family convicted of gun smuggling.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court's decision that ordered a new trial for Deming couple Rick Reese and Terri Reese and their son, Ryin Reese.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Brack granted the defense request in February 2013 because prosecutors failed to disclose that a key prosecution witness, Luna County sheriff's investigator Alan Batts, was himself under criminal investigation.
They argued the information would have allowed them to challenge his credibility.
Subjects of the Batts investigation included allegations of theft of money from a drug dealer, working with Mexican drug traffickers and assisting with immigrant smuggling.
No charges have ever been filed against him.
But the federal appeals court said the trial's outcome likely would have not have changed.
"We conclude there is not a reasonable probability that the outcome of defendants' trial would have been different had the government disclosed" the investigation, the appeals court wrote.
A jury convicted the three in August 2012 of making false statements on federal firearms-sales forms. They were acquitted of most of the charges that they sold weapons to Mexican drug cartels.