Jon Cawley reports for the Daily Press (Norfolk, Virginia):
All along, York-Poquoson Commonwealth's Attorney Eileen Addison said she was being made a scapegoat by the Virginia State Bar, and on Monday a three-judge Circuit Court panel declared there was no evidence to support misconduct charges leveled against her.
Addison and Newport News attorney Cathy Krinick were accused of coaching William Jones in the capital murder trial of Daryl Atkins and withholding information from Atkins' defense attorney. Atkins and Jones were co-defendants in the 1996 robbery and murder of Langley Air Force airman Erick Nesbitt.
Her hearing was scheduled for three days, but it took only a few hours for a three-judge Circuit Court panel to dismiss all charges against Addison.
Judges Richard D. Taylor Jr., Jean Harrison Clements and Joseph E. Spruill Jr. found no support for the charges. The only exception was a charge that Addison knowingly used perjured testimony in Atkins' case -- it was withdrawn by the bar's lead attorney Mary Ann Beckett.
"The Court seriously considered the record and testimony today ... we find there is no evidence that this respondent (Addison) coached, manipulated or prompted untruthful testimony, said Taylor, who served as chief judge on the panel.The Atkins case went to the Supreme Court, making the rule that a mentially retarded person cannot be executed. Atkins was subsequently found not to actually be retarded.