Judge Rules Ruiz Trial Will Continue Despite ‘Questionable’ Actions On Behalf Of The County DA

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Judge David Foley chose not to declare a mistrial in the Rebecca Ruiz murder case on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the proceedings. 
“Yesterday they had a hearing because the prosecution’s star witness,  who testified in front of the grand jury to secure the indictment, apparently he submitted conflicting sworn statements and the DA decided they were not going to use him as a witness because his most recent statement  favored the defense,” said the source.
“On March fifth, the prosecution asked for the judge to appoint Quentin Watts an attorney because they felt that he either did or would commit perjury,” according to the source.
Foley then reportedly told the prosecution that the defense didn’t have to call Watts as a witness but they could and until that decision was made Foley didn’t believe that assigning him (Watts) an attorney was appropriate because it could give the impression that he was being charged with a crime.
According to the source, on March 9, the DA’s office directed the Dunkirk Police Department to file felony charges against Quentin Watts for making a false statement. The prosecution decided they were not going to use Watts to testify but the defense wanted him to get on the stand. The source said Watts has informed both parties they he will not testify for anyone as a result of the pending charges.
“The prosecution had the discretion of charging Watts with the Class E Felony because there’s a five-year window of a statute of limitations but they chose to charge him several days after the judge said he was not to assign him an attorney,” said the source.
“They (prosecution) were also asked to grant him (Watts) immunity from that charge so that he could testify and the DA’s office refused to do that,” said the source.
According to the source, the defense then argued that decision by the prosecution to not grant Watts immunity violated Rebecca Ruiz’s sixth Amendment right to due process.
“Watts has pleaded the Fifth, he won’t testify, he can’t testify on her behalf that he was one of her witnesses,” said the source.
The defense argued that in choosing to charge him while a trial was still going on and before he testified they (prosecution) chose to violate her (Ruiz) Sixth Amendment right.
Judge David Foley said that while the timing of the prosecutor’s actions were questionable, he believed the charge filed by the DA’s office against Watts for making a false statement to investigators precluded Watts from testifying therefore no mistrial was declared.
The jury was not present for this ruling.  The source believes that Foley will instruct them that Quentin Watts will not be available  to testify.
Ruiz was charged last year with second-degree Murder after confessing to the killing of her late boyfriend, Julian Duman, according to testimony from a Dunkirk Police Sergeant.

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