PII’s Investigation Contributes To Decision By Arizona Judge To Vacate Defendant’s Death Sentence
Los Angeles, California, August 5, 2010 –Nearly a decade of work by a team of investigators from Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII) was rewarded last week when Cochise County Superior Court Judge Wallace R. Hoggatt vacated the death sentence of defendant Kyle Sharp, who was sentenced in Arizona in 1997 for the murder of Judith Coughlin.
Ruling on the defendant’s appeal in State of Arizona v. Kyle David Sharp, Judge Hoggatt cited the work of Keith Rohman, president of PII, as “instrumental in identifying and locating the witnesses...who testified concerning the horrific abuse...inflicted upon Kyle Sharp over the course of many years when he was a child....” Rohman and his investigative team located and interviewed dozens of key witnesses whom Sharp’s previous attorneys failed to present during his sentencing in the Arizona Superior Court. These witnesses included several members of Sharp’s fractured family, his high school art teacher, and a medical doctor and a psychiatrist, both of whom treated Sharp for physical and emotional abuse sustained during childhood.
According to attorney Thomas Gorman, who represented Sharp in his death row appeal, Keith Rohman and his staff “were methodical, dogged, determined, creative, committed and relentless in their pursuit of evidence.” Gorman added that aspects of Sharp’s Ineffective Assistance of Counsel claim “would not have been proven without the work product of Keith Rohman and his staff.”
“Arizona is a conservative state,” said Rohman, “And death sentences there are rarely overturned. In this case, however, the Judge recognized that a real injustice had been done in sentencing Kyle Sharp to death.”
Rohman and his staff began work on Sharp’s case in 2001. In addition to mitigation on behalf of Kyle Sharp, Rohman has worked on capital cases in California, Alaska, New York, Indiana, Arizona and the State of Washington.
Based in downtown Los Angeles, Public Interest Investigations, Inc., was founded by Keith Rohman in 1984. The firm’s caseload spans a wide range of legal issues and specialties, including employment law, civil rights, international human rights, torts, and environmental law. PII’s clients include governmental entities, corporations, and civil and criminal attorneys.
The court’s decision is available at http://azcapitalproject.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/2010-08-03-Sharp-PCR-Win.pdf.
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- Public Interest Investigations, Inc.
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