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Judge Throws Out Evidence in Trial of Man Accused of Murdering 6-Year-Old

The 190-page ruling said Cranston Police illegally read text messages and used that evidence while questioning Michael Patino, who is accused of killing a 6-year-old boy in 2009.

Cranston Police Chief Marco Palombo Jr. said the department is reviewing a Superior Court judge's decision issued Tuesday to throw out a mountain of evidence obtained from cell phone text messages in the murder trial of Michael Patino, who is accused of killing his girlfriend's six-year-old son, Marco Nieves, in Cranston in 2009.

Palombo said the department "first and foremost" is focused on "pursuing justice for Marco Nieves and his family."

"We are still reviewing Judge [Judith] Savage's lengthy decision and are working with the Attorney General's Office to determine he appropriate course of judicial action," Palombo said.

The 190-page ruling includes at-times scathing assertions that officers working the case stated in sworn affidavits a "troubling array of facts, that are intentionally inconsistent and otherwise riddled with inaccuracies."

Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung issued a similar statement in the wake of Savage's ruling, saying he has "full confidence that the members of the Cranston Police Department are out there tonight doing their job to keep the citizens safe."

"That being said, I am still reviewing the judge’s decision and will determine what actions, if any, need to be taken with regard to the work of the specific officers referenced,” Fung said.

The 190 page ruling (attached to this story) concludes that the department illegally seized evidence from a cell phone and used information gleaned from text messages during their interrogation of Patino before they had a warrant.

Additionally, the court ruled, the police department's use of the evidence resulted in securing warrants to search the Dyer Avenue apartment that Nieves lived with his mother, "further evidence of the continuing taint in its criminal investigation," Savage wrote. "no other information is provided in the affidavits themselves that would provide probably cause for the search of the contents of the cell phones."

The ruling blasts several officers for swearing under oath several statements that were "deliberately false or were made with reckless disregard of the truth." Those statements were part of the record that led to the issuance of warrants.

Stay tuned for more details about the case and an analysis of the ruling.

Maya Lincoln September 05, 2012 at 09:16 PM
This is so sad. The man who murdered this little innocent boy needs to be locked up. It is sad that justice for this young boy's murder is being ruined by the actions of both police and a judge. I really hope that this boy's murederer gets lock up for ever. I send my thoughts, prayers, and condolences to this boy's family.
Joe Jones September 06, 2012 at 10:23 AM
It would be a travesty if this guy walks because the police didn't follow the correct protocol!! Hope the IA Dept. gets invovled and those who did wrong get their punishment also! An innocent child lost their life here!!! RIP Marco
John Lolio September 06, 2012 at 08:01 PM
This is a very serious matter concerning this PD and especially detectives and narcotic unit. I know by first hand knoledge of this happening on 2 other warrants that were obtained through false statements. One was dismissed and I wish this judge was involved in these. There needs to be an outside investigation( FEDS). I would gladly sit and show them proof of these allegations. NOW we have a murderer possibly going free. They should charged with PERJURY and dismissed
Joe Jones September 06, 2012 at 08:17 PM
@ John why don't you take it to the state police? CPD always had a top notch IA dept. I hope this guy doesn't go free because of there mistakes...
John Lolio September 06, 2012 at 08:27 PM
The dept. is all in all still top notch. I am referring to Det and especially narcotics. I feel outside FBI is more equipped for civil rights violations. State Police are great but FBI will where to go for OUTSIDE STATE INVESTIGATION.
Courtney K December 08, 2012 at 07:53 AM
I know this is delayed, but I do feel the need to point out that questions pertaining to a suspect's Fourth Amendment Rights and the admissibility of SMS evidence is still a hotly debated topic that has absolutely no consensus. What we have here isn't a case of a procedural fail on the part of the police, so much as a clash between typical morals and the Civil Liberties obligations of a judge. I agree full-heartedly that the evidence should not have been thrown out, but I also subscribe more to a Crime Control mentality... but anyway, my point: This is not a failure on part of the police so much as of the slow moving legal system.

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