The arson conspiracy case against Darious Morris — marked by the jailing of an official court reporter and the production of conflicting transcripts — was ordered back to Detroit’s 36th District Court for a do-over of the preliminary examination, a judge ruled Tuesday.
But the case, already months behind schedule because of the transcripts, still is on hold because the prosecution asked for a stay pending the possible appeal of Wayne County Circuit Judge David Allen’s ruling to the state Court of Appeals.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Abed Hamoud said redoing the preliminary exam is unnecessary because Morris waived his right to the exam after several witnesses testified.
“Are we in search of the truth or search of a transcript?” Hamoud asked, adding that the case likely will end up back in front of Allen.
But defense attorney Leland Garrett McRae said the case should be dismissed because of the flawed official record and what he says are efforts to cover it up.
Morris is in the Wayne County Jail on complex arson conspiracy charges, but his case stalled because court reporter Paulette Martin did not produce a transcript of the preliminary examination held in May. She was jailed in September for ignoring presiding Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny’s order to produce the transcript.
Eventually, Martin turned in two versions of the first volume of the preliminary exam — one version admittedly flawed.
Allen hoped to move the case forward once the lawyers had the second version. But, he said Tuesday, he learned from a Free Press article that Martin’s certification was suspended, rendering her new transcript unacceptable.
“Sometimes the judge is the last to know anything,” Allen told the lawyers.
McRae pointed out the second volume is invalid, too; it didn’t have the required certification, either.
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