A former deputy U.S. marshal who is serving a 24-month prison sentence for punching and kicking a detainee and lying about the incident is not entitled to a new trial, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled this week.
The former deputy marshal, Stephen Cook, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in January 2008 on charges that included making false statements and depriving the detainee of civil rights. A jury found Cook guilty in October 2007.
Prosecutors say the detainee, Omar Hunter, who was arrested in 2005 for a traffic offense, was attacked after making a comment that angered Cook. Hunter was shackled when Cook reportedly pulled him from a police van and kicked and punched him in his head and upper body, according to court records.
Two former deputy U.S. marshals, Bryan Behringer and Michael Sharpstene, pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators about their involvement in the assault on Hunter. Behringer and Sharpstene were both sentenced to a year of probation.
Cook’s appellate counsel, Faisal Gill of D.C.’s The Gill Law Firm, argued in appellate briefs that Cook is entitled to a new trial because, among other things, prosecutors failed to disclose three pieces of evidence before trial—including evidence that D.C. police had to pull Hunter from his cell prior to being transported to D.C. Superior Court on the day of the incident.
Gill was not immediately available for comment this afternoon. William Moffitt of Alexandria’s Moffitt & Brodnax represented Cook at trial and also was not available for comment.
D.C. Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle and Judges Merrick Garland and Janice Rogers Brown issued a three-page per curiam judgment Tuesday denying Cook’s effort to secure a new trial. Among other things, the judges said Cook “fails to demonstrate a reasonable probability earlier disclosure would have resulted in acquittal.”