New York's high court to review 'Grid Kid' killing case

- Fox 5 News has learned the "Grid Kid" killing case is headed to New York State's highest court in the 15-year legal saga's latest twist.

The New York Court of Appeals has agreed to review a lower court's February ruling throwing out John Giuca's conviction for the 2003 killing of Mark Fisher, a 19-year-old Fairfield University student.

The Brooklyn-based Second Judicial Department Appeals Court ordered a new trial for Giuca, siding with his defense team's argument that the prosecutors violated Giuca's constitutional rights by failing to disclose a deal they made with a Rikers Island informant, John Avitto, to vacate a warrant against him in exchange for testimony towards Giuca's 2005 conviction.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office maintained that no such deal was made, calling its participation in vacating Avitto's warrant an official obligation unrelated to his testimony. In requesting for the Court of Appeals' review, the DA argued it was under no obligation to provide the defense with information to make false suggestions to the jury.

The DA also argued that even if it had made a deal with Avitto, the jury would have convicted Giuca regardless of the informant's testimony.

The case has made headlines from the start. One notable moment came in the years immediately after Giuca's conviction, when his mother assumed a false identity in an attempt to seduce a former juror into exculpating her son.

The Court of Appeals grants leave to appeal in only about 3 percent of criminal cases brought before it and takes an average of 11 months to issue its decision.

Giuca had argued against the appeal, which could foreclose the chance at a retrial he won five months ago.

"I am confident the Court of Appeals will affirm the unanimous opinion of the Appellate Division, which concluded that the Brooklyn DA repeatedly violated Giuca's right to due process," Mark Bederow, Giuca's attorney, told Fox 5 in an email.

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Mike Sacks, a general assignment reporter for Fox 5 News, provides reports, legal analysis, and commentary on landmark Supreme Court cases, constitutional law, and high-profile trials and decisions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Mike holds a J.D. from Georgetown Law. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSacksEsq.

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