Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Third Trial Starts for Erik Stoddard

A third trial has begun for Erik Stoddard, accused of the murder of three-year-old Calen Faith Dirubbo in 2002. Stoddard's first conviction was thrown out because a toddler's "utterance" was considered hearsay by the CSA. Here's info on the case from the second trial which concluded in May of last year; that conviction was also thrown out. Reported the Sun last year:
... the judge in the case ordered a new trial, saying he should have asked jurors during the selection process whether they had any racial prejudice against the defendant.

Circuit Judge Allen L. Schwait's decision was based on a little-known but sweeping 1999 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that a defendant has an absolute right to question jurors about racial bias, even in cases with no apparent racial dynamic.

Stoddard, 26, is white. Calen Faith Dirubbo, the 3-year-old who was fatally beaten in June 2002, was white. All of the state witnesses in the case were white. The attorneys and the judge were white. The jury was made up of eight blacks and four whites.
This case has inspired some interesting comments over the years.


Patrick Lyons said...

yet another example of why judge directed voir dire is idiotic.

Anonymous said...

I lived in the same apartment building as the mother, Cheryl Dieter, and became friends with her and her young son (she also had an older son but her mother had custody of him) and she firmly believes her husband killed her daughter, not Erik Stoddard. Cheryl asked my husband if either he would sleep with her or if we both would multiple times. She eventually became pregnant by our downstairs neighbor during a one night stand. She sleeps around, lies and is known as a thief. Her youngest daughter was molested by her father in law, Roy Herb. Yet another child she failed to protect. I witnessed her beat her son, Lucas, and called CPS over it. She mentioned her deceased child one time and that was only because she wanted a babysitter while she went to court to try to free Erik Stoddard. I don't know what happened but I know she's a terrible mother. And no, I'm not saying that because she asked to sleep with my husband, he laughed at her. I'm saying it because it's the the truth and everyone should know it.