Tyrece Jones, 22, of Oxon Hill, Maryland was convicted of carjacking and second-degree assault charges in October in a trial heard by Judge David Boynton. Now Boynton has a job with the opposing side—the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office (MCSAO)—and Jones’ public defender filed a motion for a new trial on Sept. 1 citing Boynton’s conflict of interest.
“The Division of the Office of the State’s Attorney that is prosecuting this case, litigating this motion, and arguing that Judge Boynton did nothing wrong in this case—is now managed by Judge Boynton,” Michael Beach, the county’s district public defender, said in the motion.
The motion is the latest fallout from what Beach and others say is a conflict of interest concerning the hiring of Boynton by the MCSAO. Critics worry that decisions Boynton made as a judge could have been tainted by his pursuit of a job with the MCSAO.
The MCSAO told MoCo360 that Boynton was hired on Dec. 29 and started work on Feb. 13.
“The public defender’s motion is baseless, incomplete and lacks merit,” the MCSAO wrote in an email statement to MoCo360.
The timeline of Boynton’s hiring affected high-profile cases, such as the Dec. 21 sentencing of 18-year-old Steven Alston Jr. to 18 years in prison for shooting his classmate at Magruder High School. Earlier this month, Senior Judge Leo Green Jr., to whom the case was reassigned, reduced his sentence.
An April 15 Washington Post article first described the murky hiring process.
Beach explained that Boynton presided over Jones’ Oct. 3 trial where Jones was acquitted of armed carjacking, 1st degree assault, and the use of a firearm in a crime of violence and found guilty of carjacking and second-degree assault.
Jones’ Jan. 19 sentencing was reassigned from Boynton to another judge, following public announcements that Boynton accepted a job with the MCSAO.
Beach stated in the motion repeatedly that it is unclear when the job negotiations between the MCSAO and Boynton began. In the motion, Beach said he cannot accept just trust the office’s statements about the timeline because of “the breach of public trust that occurred in the fall of 2022 and January of 2023.”
The MCSAO told MoCo360 in an email statement that Boynton first expressed interest in a job on Nov. 17, but Jones’ trial concluded on Oct. 4, so it is not relevant.
Also, MCSAO said that Beach’s motion failed to note that McCarthy met with Beach to discuss the timeline of hiring Judge Boynton and provided him with “written proof” establishing this timeline.
According to the motion, Beach also said Boynton continued to issue opinions, even after the discussions of a new job began.
Beach also cited a motion filed by unsigned counsel on Jan. 9, for State v. Damien Green, where Green was convicted for violation of probation and conspiracy to commit robbery, arguing that Boynton should not have been continuing to handle criminal cases. His case was assigned to another judge, Beach said.
Also, the motion references the opinion Boynton issued in State v. Raghbir Singh on Jan. 19 “in favor of the Office of the State’s Attorney.” In that case, Raghbir Singh was convicted of the murder of Jennifer Johnson, distribution of heroin, and conspiracy to distribute heroin after he provided her with heroin and she died of a drug overdose.
The MCSAO said they have 30 days since Beach’s motion was filed to file a motion in response and plan to do so.
Beach told MoCo360 that he will not be providing further comment at this time. The Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association declined to comment.
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