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Justin Wolfe conviction remains vacated

A 4th Circuit panel refused to disturb lower court findings that prosecutors denied due process rights for the Prince William County man accused of arranging the murder of a competing drug dealer.

The three-judge panel Thursday affirmed the conclusions of U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson who pointedly criticized Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert and his staff for failing to disclose documentation that could have been used to discredit the key prosecution witness against Justin Wolfe.

“We sincerely hope that the Commonwealth’s Attorney and his assistants have finally taken heed of these rebukes,” wrote Judge Robert B. King for the panel.

King described as “flabbergasting” Ebert’s explanation that he does not open his entire file to defense lawyers because they might “fabricate a defense” around the information provided.

Ebert told the News & Messenger he was disappointed but not surprised.

Wolfe was convicted and sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder-for-hire of another drug dealer. Jackson’s decision – now affirmed – vacated Wolfe’s convictions. Ebert said he expected Wolfe will be retried.

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