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Man: Federal deputy killing case unconstitutional

May 1, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man acquitted in state court of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy should not have to stand trial for federal charges related to the same crime, his attorneys argued in court filings this week.

Roberto Miramontes Roman’s attorneys argued in court documents Tuesday that the federal case should be dismissed because it constitutes double jeopardy — where someone is tried twice for the same offense.

Double jeopardy is prohibited by the Fifth Amendment.

Roman has pleaded not guilty to 11 federal charges he faces, including the intentional killing of a police officer, various drugs and weapons charges and illegally entering the country.

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

His attorney, Jeremy Delicino, argued that besides one charge of distributing methamphetamine and the illegally entry charge, Roman has previously been tried and either acquitted or convicted in the other nine charges.

“In layman’s terms, the United States seeks a second chance to rectify what it believes the jury got wrong the first time,” Delicino wrote. “In blunt colloquial terms, the United States seeks a do-over.”

Until Roman was acquitted, the federal government expressed no interest in prosecuting Roman, Delicino said.

During a state trial in August 2012, Roman was acquitted of aggravated murder in the shooting death a Millard County deputy during a traffic stop in 2010.

Roman had initially confessed to killing the deputy, Josie Greathouse Fox, but during his trial professed his innocence.

He instead said Fox’s brother, Ryan Greathouse, shot his sister after the men were smoking meth and then were pulled over by Fox.

While jurors said they found reasonable doubt in the murder charges, they found Roman guilty of tampering with evidence and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

He has been serving a prison term of up to 10 years for those convictions.

Ryan Greathouse was found dead in a Las Vegas apartment on April 22, 2010, just a few months after his sister was killed. The Clark County coroner’s office said Greathouse, 40, died of an accidental drug overdose and that he had cocaine, heroin, ethanol and methadone in his system.

Before his death, authorities said Greathouse told deputies he bought drugs from Ramon and another man shortly before his sister was killed.

In his state trial for aggravated murder, Roman faced a possible death penalty until the court ruled he was mentally disabled.

Delicino alluded to that in his filings Tuesday.

“Only in a Kafkaesque creation could a jury’s verdict suffice to execute Roman but not be enough to exonerate him,” Delicino said, referencing the absurd, nightmarish situations in the stories of writer Franz Kafka.

Federal prosecutors have until May 29 to respond to the motion.

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