VIOLATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO A FAIR TRAIL AND ADEQUATE DEFENSE
Both Tanzerious and Jason’s constitutional right to a fair trial, with adequate defense, were violated in the following ways:
Private attorney, Timothy Flaherty’s defense of Tanzerious; and public defender, Michael Doolin’s defense of Jason was inadequate.
Tanzerious and Jason’s constitutional right to a public trial was violated because the court was closed during jury empanelment.
There was insufficient evidence to support a conviction for felony-murder.
Evidence suggests that the Commonwealth’s main witness did not testify truthfully.
The Commonwealth withheld potentially exculpatory evidence.
DEFENSE FAILED TO GATHER EVIDENCE:
Defense attorneys, Flaherty and Doolin expressed to the defendants and their families that their legal strategy was to rely on the lack of State evidence to shoulder the burden of guilt, rather than focus on proving innocence or culpability.
The only documentation of any pre-trial investigation Flaherty produced was a hand-drawn map of the murder location.
Neither Doolin nor Flaherty were alerted to any of the additional statements given and signed by Heather Coady, Eddie Gauthier, or Joleena Tate, beyond their initial statements. Coady and Gauthier each made second and third statments, and Joleena also made a fourth. The latter statements were when those individuals began to implicate Tanzerious and Jason in the crime. Not having access to those additional statements denied defense attorneys’ the opportunity to investigate them.
Witness Eddie Gauthier testified that he saw Tanzerious' car at the scene of the murder, and that it was in good condition. Despite admitting to being heavily intoxicated, he claimed to have the license plate and details about the car's make and model memorized. Flaherty failed to gather evidence that proved Tanzerious' car was in the mechanic shop with extensive damage. He was in fact driving a rental car around this time. Flaherty also did not interrogate the fact that no witness testified that they saw Tanzerious' rental at the scene.
Flaherty failed to put Tanzerious on the standto speak on his own behalf, despite the agreement that he had made with Tanzerious, to do so.
Due to a lack of apparent evidence, Jason and his attorney Doolin had not prepared to put Jason on the stand. When they finally discovered the depth of the withheld evidence that was not presented until the trial had begun, they determined that it was too late to investigate the evidence in an effective manner. There was no guarantee that Jason taking the stand in his own defense, would be leading him into a strategic prosecutorial trap.
In 2015, Tanzerious' trial attorney, Tim Flaherty, was charge with witness tampering and bribery involving a hate-crime victim. Click to see results.
DEFENSE FAILED TO OBJECT TO INFLAMMATORY BIASES AGAINST DEFENDANTS:
Flaherty waited until mid-way through the trial to provide an opening statement, which allowed for the prosecution to shape the jury’s perception of Tanzerious. Further, it was not until day four of the trial that Tanzerious’ life as a busy student at Northeastern University, who was also working a job while taking care of his infant son, was brought up. Flaherty did not object as the prosecutor painted Tanzerious as someone with criminal aspirations.
When the police weapons expert, Mark Vickens- who was under investigation by Internal Affairs for multiple offenses- testified that the second gun Allen Tate (Joleena’s father) claimed to have been stolen from his condo in New Hampshire could have possibly been the model of gun used in the murder, he physically pulled out a gun of the same model to show the jury. Although there was no recovered murder weapon, the prosecution still managed to use this police weapons expert to show a gun to the jury. Flaherty did not object to the police weapons expert showing a “possible” match for a gun model to the jury. By doing this, the prosecution inflamed and manipulated the jury to connect that the gun Tate claimed was stolen from his condo could have been a match for the gun used in the murder.
Eddie Gauthier changed his original statement made to police, which had provided an alibi for Tate and Coady. Gauthier’s revised statements admitted that he had created this alibi and it was, in fact, untrue. While Gauthier was on the stand, the prosecutor insisted on asking leading questions, which Gauthier was reluctant to answer. The prosecutor kept pushing, ultimately slamming a picture of the dead victim on the stand’s ledge. Gauthier got teary eyed, and when the prosecutor finished questioning, Gauthier stormed off the stand, and violently swung the doors exiting the courtroom, letting them slam. There was an audible gasp from the courtroom. Defense had objected to the amount of pictures of the deceased being shown to the jury, arguing that it was inflammatory and duplicative. Even after one juror was released from duty because he had nightmares from the photos, the judge refused to limit the unusually large amount of photos of a wounded victim.
Neither Flaherty nor Doolin objected to Detective Coleman, lead homicide detective on the case, being present in the courtroom during the entire trial. Witnessing how the case was unfolding gave Det. Coleman an opportunity to tailor his testimony to the needs of the Prosecutor’s office.
FAILED OPPORTUNITIES TO QUESTION WITNESSES:
Joleena Tate testified that there was a meeting between herself, Eddie Gauthier, Heather Coady, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, to plan the robbery of Inam Yazbek, which led to his murder. Tate stated that they had been in and out of Gauthier’s apartment and that she was the one to reveal their plan to Tanzerious and Jason. Fitzgerald told detectives that there was no such meeting. This statement from Fitzgerald, which refuted Tate’s claim, was not brought to the defense’s attention until after the trail had begun, and therefore was too late to admit it into evidence to be heard and seen by the jury.
On the reported night of Mr. Yazbek's murder, Jason was with several friends, and Tanzerious was at his girlfriend's family home in Dorchester. This was confirmed by several witnesses, Michael Johnson, Wayne Johnson, and others, none of whom were ever questioned by Investigative Officers, Mr. Flaherty or Mr. Doolin during pre-trial investigations. None of the witnesses for Jason or Tanzerious were called to testify during trial.
The defense failed to bring the waitress and bartender who worked at Wadi’s Restaurant to trial to testify after they had told detectives that they saw Joleena with Mr. Yazbek on the night of his murder.
Shortly after the murder of Mr. Yazbek, Joleena Tate was arrested for prostitution. Upon her arrest, she used the alias of Amy Harr, a young woman Joleena knew from her neighborhood. When the police learned that Amy Harr was not Joleena’s real name, they contacted the real Amy Harr and informed her that she would need to go to the police station and run her fingerprints to eliminate her from any of the charges from times that Joleena used her name upon arrest. Not only had Joleena used her name upon several of her arrests, but Amy would have also testified that she witnessed Joleena accuse a group of boys of gang raping her when they were in the eighth grade. Joleena then recanted her accusation and admitted that she lied to police because she had been angry with the boys. The defense never interviewed or subpoenaed Amy Harr as a character witness.
Joleena Tate testified that Tanzerious accompanied her to New Hampshire, where they broke in to her father’s home and stole a gun. She claimed that was the gun used to murder Mr. Yazbek. Lt. Dicey of New Hampshire, the lead detective in the break-in case, had ruled that Tanzerious was not a suspect because the fingerprints and footprints from the crime did not match Tanzerious. However, very shortly before he was to testify at Tanzerious’ trial, Lt. Dicey refused to voluntarily testify. Flaherty never subpoenaed Lt. Dicey to testify and therefore the jury never heard his valuable testimony, which would have disputed Joleena’s statements.
The prosecution used the fact that Tanzerious had once driven Tate to New Hampshire- prior to the time of the robbery at her father’s house- to strengthen the claim that he could have been present at the time of the robbery. The statement made by Joleena Tate’s friend, Megan Gibny, to the Boston Police Department, explaining how Tate had a pattern of asking male acquaintances to drive her to New Hampshire, never made its way into the trial. Megan told detectives that when Joleena was fourteen-years-old, her father filed a Missing Persons' report, which led to the arrest of her male friend for kidnapping. The charges were dropped immediately, once police learned that this man was a friend who had been asked by Joleena to drive her to New Hampshire. Flaherty failed to demonstrate how Megan’s statement proved that Tanzerious was one of several young men that had accompanied her to New Hampshire. Establishing this pattern would have created a context for the jury to understand why Tanzerious had accompanied Joleena to New Hamsphire on an occasion prior to the date of the break-in. The prosecution was able to use the illusion that Tanzerious had stolen a gun from Allen Tate’s condo to establish premeditated murder. The fact is that Tanzerious did not break into Tate’s condo and the evidence from Lt. Dicey’s testimony would have proved that. Click for the Police Report.
The bullet fragment from the murder was analyzed by the Boston Police Department, yet was insufficient to determine the actual model of gun that was used in Mr. Yazbek’s murder. However, it offered enough evidence to indicate that the murder weapon was a high capacity gun, which could have been one of several models. The gun that Allen Tate originally claimed was stolen from his condo was not a high capacaity gun, and therefore did not match the balistics report from the bullet fragment, and could not have been the murder weapon. Upon this evidence, Tate amended his police report to claim that a high capacity gun had also been stolen from his house during the break-in. He claimed he had forgotten about this gun. This newly claimed stolen gun was a potential match for the murder, which once again allowed the prosecution to imply that there was proof of premeditation of murder. This claim would have been proven irrelevant had Flaherty subpoenaed Lt. Dicey to testify that Tanzerious was ruled out as a possible suspect in the break-in.
The defense never subpoenaed Megan Gibny, who was Joleena Tate’s roommate at their boarding school, Fryeburg Academy. Megan had been questioned by Boston police and when she was shown line up photos of Tanzerious and Jason, she denied that either of them was Tate’s boyfriend. She knew who Tate’s actual boyfriend was because he had stayed many nights in the room that she shared with Tate, which was the cause of Tate being expelled from the school.
Boston Police Officer Tim Stanton believed that Joleena Tate's boyfriend, who had a violent criminal history and was a known member of a local gang, was a possible suspect in the murder of Mr. Yazbek. Neither the investigative officers nor the defense investigated Officer Stanton's lead.
Defense attorneys motioned to sever the case, which would have provided both Jason and Tanzerious the opportunity to argue the specific details of their case, was denied. Each young man’s theories and arguments were different, being that they were implicated in different ways. With the motion to sever was denied, the prosecutor was allowed to manipulate specific details from each defendant, to “fill in gaps” in the other’s case. This put Jason and Tanzerious at a disadvantage the whole way through. The judge and prosecution knew this, and are thus guilty of misconduct detrimental to justice.