Appeals Court Considers Tossing Tony Viola's Conviction
Tony Viola was tried two times on identical charges, once in federal court and once in state court, in cases prosecuted by the same prosecution team. Following a federal conviction, Tony established his innocence at a second trial in state court on the same charges and sought permission to present proof of his innocence, including evidence prosecutors withheld before the first trial, to the federal judiciary. But Judge Donald Nugent refused, ruling that "defendants are not allowed to obtain an acquittal by changing their strategies and defenses following a conviction. ... Whatever happened in the state court proceeding has no bearing on the propriety of the federal trial proceedings," USA vs. Viola, 2014 U.S. Dist LEXIS 164410, Northern District of Ohio.
"The pending appeal is focused on the key issue: I proved my innocence at trial yet remain in jail," said Tony Viola. "We've asked the appeals court to vacate Judge Nugent's ruling that defendants are not allowed to present newly discovered evidence at a second trial -- particularly when the government hides that evidence in the first place. We've also asked the court to release me from jail or, at the very least, schedule a hearing so I can present proof of my innocence, currently in my jail locker, in a court of law.
To review Tony's appeal and the government's response, please access the Pacer system, Viola vs. Warden, case # 18-1757, Third Circuit Court of Appeals.