Chip Harding: Sheriff made hash of case against Hash
The Albemarle County sheriff has uncovered a scandal that's rocking the state, a questionable capital murder conviction in Culpeper. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, with the assistance of the Progress, reports on the possibility that investigators in Culpeper abetted dishonesty by police and prosecutors who'd hoped to solve the mystery of who killed Thelma Scroggins in 1996. Thanks to revealing interviews facilitated by Sheriff Chip Harding, a federal judge has ordered that the convicted man, Michael Wayne Hash, needs to be freed or retried within six months.
The ruling from Roanoke-based judge James Turk– noting the "outrageous misconduct" of Culpeper law enforcement officials– came February 28 after Richmond-based law firm of Hunton & Williams provided over 2,000 hours of free legal assistance. The firm noted that alleged misdeeds including coaching witnesses, hiding exculpatory materials, and what Harding uncovered: that officials quietly orchestrated a transfer that put Hash in a Charlottesville cell block for one night with a "professional snitch."
–story updated Monday, March 5 with a little more infoAttached Documents: