The judge is going to review a request by the defense attorney for Gabriele Ballowe that he be allowed to see minutes from both the grand jury that indicted Ballowe last month and the 2014 grand jury that reportedly initially indicted Ballowe but then issued a no-bill when asked by the District Attorney’s Office to vote again.
At issue is whether there was enough new evidence to merit a second presentation of the case to the grand jury.
In a brief court session Monday morning, State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns said he would review the request for a show-cause order from Ballowe’s lawyer, Thomas J. Eoannou, and set a July 21 return date for the case.
There is no question that the defense is entitled to the minutes from the grand jury that indicted Ballowe. The question is whether it also should be given the minutes from the grand jury that issued the no-bill. Grand jury proceedings are not public.
Ballowe, 50, is accused of first- and second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting resulting in death and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting resulting in serious injury in the death of Barry T. “Bob” Moss. Moss, 52, was struck and killed in the early-morning hours of Dec. 22, 2013 while riding or pushing his bicycle along Route 5 in the Town of Evans. The driver who hit Moss left the scene. His body was found later that morning.
Ballowe, who allegedly had been drinking in Hamburg that night and was driving home, previously settled a civil action filed by Moss’ family, although she never formally admitted her guilt in the case. Under the advice of her attorney, she also has refused to talk about the incident.
Prosecutors have not outlined the new evidence that led to the return to the grand jury, but the indictment also names Lynne A. Laettner of Hamburg, a friend of Ballowe, who is accused of perjury for allegedly lying to the 2014 grand jury.
At the time of the women’s arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Finnerty said, “The defendant (Ballowe) told Ms. Laettner that she knew she had hit something. In the grand jury, Ms. Laettner denied Gabriele Ballowe made that statement.”
Finnerty has said that the evidence against Ballowe was “much stronger than two years ago” in reference to the 2014 grand jury. Eoannou made his request to the court in an effort to see whether that is, in fact, true.
Ballowe remains free on $50,000 bail.