Updated 04/02/2012 10:40 PM
U.S. Supreme Court will not review Porco conviction
Two courts have reviewed Christopher Porco's case and affirmed he was guilty. Now, the nation's highest court has denied an appeal by Porco's defense. But the legal battle is not over yet. Our Innae Park reports.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
ALBANY, N.Y. –- On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to review Christopher Porco's murder conviction.
Porco’s attorney, Terence Kindlon, admitted, “We thought, this is pretty good, we have a pretty good shot here,” based on another case SCOTUS was reviewing: Alexander Vasquez v. U.S.
However, on the same day that Porco’s petition was denied, the Supreme Court found Vasquez’s case not viable for review.
In 2006, Porco was found guilty of killing his father and attempting to kill his mother with an ax in their Delmar home in November 2004. Since then, the 28-year-old’s case has been reviewed by two other courts: The Second Department Appellate Division in March 2010 and by the New York State Court of Appeals in October 2011.
The constitutional concern: Whether the testimony that victim Joan Porco nodded when asked if her son Christopher attacked her should have been used. Porco’s attorney argued that the testimony was simply hearsay because Joan had no memory of it later and as a result, could not be cross-examined regarding it.
The appellate prosecutor, Christopher Horn, says he is not surprised by the court’s decision.
“This has been a very prolonged and gruesome chapter in Albany's history and this really does bring the case to a close,” Horn said.
While the nation's highest court does not provide reason for such denials, our legal analyst believes the outcome was clear from the beginning.
Paul DerOhannesian said, “It is less attractive to the Supreme Court to review when there's such an overwhelming evidence of guilt.”
Horn said, “The defense may grasp at other straws in an attempt to pursue this further, but this really was the last realistic chance they had.”
Not according to Kindlon, who plans to petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the U.S. district court in the next year.
“We're not going to stop until there are absolutely no possibilities for further action. And I’m not sure that we ever reach that point,” he said.
“That is an extremely difficult route,” surmised DerOhannesian. “Especially in the past several years because Congress has limited the areas and means by which a federal court can review a state conviction.”
That isn’t deterring Kindlon, nor his client.
“Chris will never give up,” said Kindlon.
Porco is currently serving his sentence of 46 years to life in prison.