The D.C. Court of Appeals today affirmed the conviction of one of two men charged in the death of New York Times journalist David Rosenbaum, who died in January 2006 after he was beaten during a robbery near his home.
One of Rosenbaum’s accused assailants, Percy Jordan, challenged his 2006 conviction, in D.C. Superior Court, of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and other charges relating to the robbery.
Jordan, in his appeal, claimed the trial judge improperly failed to answer a jury question regarding its instructions; limited cross-examination of an eyewitness; allowed the prosecutor to wrongfully shift the burden of proof during closing arguments; and denied a defense motion to remove Jordan’s alias from the indictment.
Senior Judge John Ferren, writing for a three-judge panel, said that Jordan’s claims were without merit. The jury question would have required D.C. Superior Court Judge Erik Christian to assist jurors with applying law to the facts, Ferren wrote, so Christian was correct to restate the instructions in question and leave it at that. The judges similarly discounted Jordan's other claims.
The full opinion can be found here (PDF).
Rosenbaum was attacked while walking alone near his home in northwest Washington one evening in January 2006. In October 2006, a D.C. Superior Court jury found Jordan guilty of first-degree and second-degree murder while armed, robbery and credit card fraud.
The other robber, Jordan’s cousin Michael Hamlin, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery, and testified during Jordan’s trial that Jordan hit Rosenbaum.
Jordan’s court-appointed appellate counsel, Washington solo practitioner Patrick Hand, declined to comment, saying he had not had a chance to review the decision. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bill Miller, also declined to comment.
The Rosenbaum family sued the city and Howard University Hospital over failures in how they handled the emergency response. Those claims were settled in 2007.