MAYVILLE – A mistrial has been declared in the trial involving a Cheektowaga man who stands accused of attempted murder against a Chautauqua County Sheriff Deputy.
The Post-Journal is reporting that on Tuesday, Chautauqua County Judge David Foley granted a request for a mistrial after it was learned District Attorney Patrick Swanson failed to provide DNA evidence to the defense prior to the start of the trial. Under law, the defense is required to be made of any evidence that will be submitted in a criminal trial before it begins. Public Defender Ned Barone took issue with DNA evidence that was presented last week by the prosecution, which it claimed was collected from the defendant the night of the incident.
On Sept. 11, 2016, 22 year-old Justin Haffa allegedly crashed his vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret. The first responding officer was deputy Sara Cunningham. Haffa is accused of disobeying Cunningham’s orders following a field sobriety test and getting into a physical altercation with her. At one point, the prosecution claims Haffa pulled a knife and used it again the deputy. He’s also accused of taking her gun during the altercation and fleeing the scene. He was captured by police a short time later.
Because of the failure of the DA to notify the defense of the DNA evidence and the subsequent mistrial decision, the trial will have to start over again.
A pre-trial conference will take place Sept. 22. A new jury will be selected.