Back To The Drawing Board: Foley Grants Application For Mistrial In Haffa Case

MAYVILLE — An application for mistrial in the Justin Haffa case has been granted by the Hon. David Foley.

The decision was made after Public Defender Ned Barone said a DNA report was never provided to his office.

Barone said on Tuesday he never received the report detailing a T-shirt and fingernail clippings alleging to be that of Haffa before jury selection or before the prosecution rested its case.

Foley denied Barone’s initial request to dismiss the three-count indictment. Instead, both the prosection and defense will go back to the drawing board with a pre-trial conference scheduled for Sept. 22.

Barone said the application for a mistrial was a good result given they were denied opportunity to examine evidence and explore a proper defense.

The prosecution called Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Investigator Kristie Lyon to the stand last week. She discussed evidence collected, which included a shirt and fingernail clippings, at the scene during the Sept. 11 incident.

Prior to Foley’s decision, Barone explained he needed to have an opportunity ahead of trial to adequately prepare the defense’s case. Barone acknowledged he would have sent the report to an expert to better understand it.

Barone received a copy of the report by the prosecution after calling the judge’s attention to the violation. He said he hasn’t looked at the report in detail.

District Attorney Patrick Swanson acknowledged the matter falls on his office. He said he had every intention to hand the report over. Swanson declined to comment following Foley’s decision to grant an application for a mistrial.

Haffa is facing three felony charges following the Sept. 11 incident in which he allegedly attacked deputy Sara Cunningham during a field sobriety test. Charges include first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer.