Faith in the law and in the courts holds society together. We have to believe that the law is the law and when we are wronged or the law is broken the judicial system will uphold the law.
We are however human, even as we assume a judge is above that. In the end though, we are judged by imperfect people and things don’t always work out the way they are supposed to. This story is one that involves a verdict which at first seemed perfectly in line with the law and in retrospect, happened to need to be revisited very badly…
Small Fish Big World
In 2005 minor gang leader John was convicted of the murder of 19 year old Mark Fisher. Mark was a college football star from New Jersey who had his life tragically cut short by John’s purportedly evil hand. It seemed like justice was done, but the story ran much deeper than the verdict would indicate.
After a night of partying at what would eventually be revealed to be John’s house, Mark’s body was mysteriously found covered by a sheet a few blocks away from the home. It appeared as though he had been shot at some point in the night but no other clues were found. No one knew what happened to him…
Was it a setup? Was something else going on that night? All that was found was a dead boy in the street after having a party with a known mobster.
E Tu Brute
One of the big pieces of the puzzle was a testimony by the known snitch John Avitto. A big part of the case against John Giuca was based on the story that was provided to attorneys…
The Table Tied The Room Together
It was believed that somehow Mark managed to offend Giuca by sitting on his coffee table and picking up girls the night before the murder. How could something fairly innocent be the cause of a murder?
Law and Order: Jersey Edition
Anna Nicolazzi, the lead prosecutor on the case thought she had the answer at the time of the trial. The attorney, who now has her own TV show offered a pretty clear picture of the events to the jury…
She argued that this wasn’t just the case of a slight offence to a man in his home but of a loser. In her mind John Giuca was a man with a tiny gang, a fledgling boss trying to make a name for himself.
Setting an Example
Mark was the perfect way to do that. Mark, in his little offense gave Giuca the perfect opportunity to prove himself. John Giuca ordered a hit on Mark to flex his muscles and show everyone he was in charge..
An Inside Job
Her case was helped by John Avitto’s story from jail. He told the court that while Giuca was being held in jail waiting for his trial that he overheard a conversation between an older gentleman and the defendant.
It Matches the Outfit
The unnamed man asked Giuca why he was armed that night. A question that Guica had apparently simply replied that he just happened to have it on him…
Everything Has a Price
But this testimony didn’t come free as it would turn out. The district attorney’s office was more than willing to compensate their prized snitch for his help.
Pro bono is the nice thing to do
However this fact was never disclosed to the jury. As it turned out the jury never knew that Avitto was compensated for anything and that a special agreement was made between the two parties…
To make sure he got his special privileges Mr. Avitto told prosecutors everything. Though everything apparently meant what his imagination could come up with.
Never give up
In the intervening 10 years after the conviction, John Giuca’s defense never gave up and eventually had a judge reexamine the case. In 2015 John Avitto admitted he lied in the original case….
Even a Judge is Human
Despite this the Brooklyn Supreme Court refused to overturn the guilty verdict. The judge said that despite the lie, there was no reason to believe that Giuca wasn’t guilty based on this fact.
Some Though Are Smarter
His case was continually appealed with this new information until in 2016 it was heard before the state appellate court. The panel agreed in a unanimous decision what the lower court refused to do…
The Law is the Law
The evidence of the original trial was thrown out and the guilty verdict was overturned. The court ruled that false testimony and purchased lies have no place in our legal system.
But Who Did It?
As of now no new suspect has been named in the murder of Fisher from 2005. The case is set to be investigated again as a reopened unsolved murder, which will hopefully bring the actual culprit to justice…
A Good Man Walks
The truth will set us free, and the facts of the case have been corrected. A renewed trial is set to take place in the next few months to officially exonerate him.
The Caged Bird Sings
For now Giuca is still behind bars but the faulty evidence that convicted him has been thrown out. His lawyers hope that he will be home with his family soon enough and can put this behind him.