MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A 90-page ruling from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals addresses several challenges raised by Lam Luong's defense lawyers.
The ruling's release follows an appeals court decision to overturn Lam Luong's capital murder conviction. In 2009, Luong was sentenced to death for throwing his four small children from the Dauphin Island bridge.
Four of five justices agreed with the defense, stating the circuit court judge "erred" in denying a motion to move the trial outside Mobile County.
Former District Attorney John Tyson Junior disagrees and said the decision came after much consideration.
"Judge Graddick didn't just summarily dismiss the motion from the defense. We argued about it, and decided that the best way to proceed with that would be to ask jurors whether or not they could be fair and impartial and then make judgments, both prosecution, defense and court as to whether or not we seat a fair and impartial jury. And it was after we talked to them that the judge decided once in for all that we could in fact do that and go forward," Tyson said.
The defense also raised questions about the state's interpreter. Tyson said that was an issue that had never been brought up before.
"Don't forget this man speaks English and we did get an interpreter and, to the best of my memory, we didn't have one complaint, one suggestion that the interpreter was somehow or another inadequate," he said. "It never came up."
The appeals court also said the judge should have granted Luong's lawyers $7,500 to travel to Vietnam to gather information about Luong's childhood, as part of his defense.
One appeals judge also said it was mistake for jurors to be shown a videotape of a detective throwing bags off the Dauphin island Bridge as a re-enactment of the crime.
"None of them change the facts of this case. And I think, ultimately, none of them are going to change the results of this case. But we now have more steps to go, long appeals, expensive appeals, and maybe we even have to start all over again," Tyson said.
The Appeals Court did rule against the defense on one issue, saying there was "absolutely no evidence" that police placed undue pressure on Luong to confess.
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