N.C. Court of Appeals: Wake Prosecutor Whose Father Was Kidnapped Knowingly Suppressed Evidence in Armed Robbery Case | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Friday, June 24, 2016

N.C. Court of Appeals: Wake Prosecutor Whose Father Was Kidnapped Knowingly Suppressed Evidence in Armed Robbery Case

Posted by on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 9:15 AM

click to enlarge Wake County assistant district attorney Colleen Janssen - ABC11.COM
  • abc11.com
  • Wake County assistant district attorney Colleen Janssen
If the name Colleen Janssen sounds familiar, it's because she's been, tangentially, in the news lately.

On Tuesday, a federal jury found gang leader Kelvin Melton guilty of masterminding the kidnapping of Janssen's father, Frank Janssen, in April of 2014. Colleen Janssen, the prosecutor in a 2012 case that sent Melton to prison for life for attempted murder was the intended target in the botched kidnapping, federal prosecutors successfully argued.

But on the same day Melton was found guilty, three North Carolina Court of Appeals judges found that Colleen Janssen committed prosecutorial misconduct in another, unrelated case that she was trying for the state beginning in October, 2014. Janssen was not, however, named in the court's ruling but referred to as "the ADA."

The state's witness in that case was Marcus Smith, who a Raleigh police detective had been investigating during the summer of 2014 for trafficking marijuana. Smith was testifying against two men who he claimed robbed him at gunpoint of a ring and $1,153 cash in April, 2013. 

The defendants, Barshiri Sandy and Henry Surpris, argued that Smith was a drug dealer and they had gone to his house to collect marijuana from him that was owed them. During the encounter, Smith was shot in the arm but managed to grab a gun himself and shoot both Sandy and Surpris. 

Sandy and Surpris fled in a getaway vehicle driven by Bryant Baldwin, who claimed he was not at the scene, then testified against Sandy and Surpris when evidence pinned him there. Though the defendants argued that they had gone to confront Smith about the marijuana he owed them and not to rob him, Sandy and Surpris were convicted of all of the charges related to the armed robbery that were brought against them. Around the same time, Smith was indicted by the federal government for trafficking large amounts of marijuana.
 
Sandy and Surpris appealed. The court found that Janssen, the lead assistant district attorney, was fully aware that RPD was investigating Smith while the trial was ongoing because she had been emailing with the lead police detective between July and October through a private account. In emails Janssen actually encouraged the detective to hold off on arresting Smith until after the armed robbery trial. During the trial, she called Smith as her key witness to provide testimony that he was not trafficking drugs

Below is the Court of Appeals' ruling overturning Sandy's and Surpris's convictions. The emails between Janssen and the detective, which she withheld from the defendants' attorneys until after the trial despite their requests, begin on page 12.

State v Sandy


Obviously Janssen's misconduct in this case raises questions about other cases she has tried— including Melton's 2012 trial for attempted murder— and about the culture at the Wake County courthouse. Check the blog for updates to this story.

Tags: , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

"Since late November, Henderson County in Western North Carolina has seen 20 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, and has …

by Liza Coutu on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

What part of illegal don't they understand. Congress is considering the DACAs plus all other illegal aliens in a bill …

by john1050 on Durham Church Offers Immigrant Sanctuary from Deportation (News)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

"Since late November, Henderson County in Western North Carolina has seen 20 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, and has …

by Liza Coutu on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

What part of illegal don't they understand. Congress is considering the DACAs plus all other illegal aliens in a bill …

by john1050 on Durham Church Offers Immigrant Sanctuary from Deportation (News)

From the WRAL story:
http://www.wral.com/former-wake-register-o…
"John Stephenson, the county's internal auditor, said an average of $1,100 to …

by Mojo on Indictments in Wake Register of Deeds Scandal Charge Laura Riddick with Embezzling $926,615 (News)

Hopefully Indyweek will remember all this the next time they endorse a Republican (over and over again).

by Robert Larson on Indictments in Wake Register of Deeds Scandal Charge Laura Riddick with Embezzling $926,615 (News)

Sessions has already strip mined the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ. Thankfully U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey is …

by growlybear on Senator Cory Booker Asks for the Release of a Department of Justice Memo on Thomas Farr’s Involvement in a Voter-Intimidation Scheme (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation