REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2014-CA-001375-MR MASON
CIRCUIT COURT NO. 14-CR-00037
APPELLANT: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky Leilani
K.M. Martin Assistant Attorney General
APPELLEE: Jason Apollo Hart Assistant Public Advocate Linda
Roberts Horsman Assistant Public Advocate
2014, Appellee, Brian Muchrison, was tried and convicted by a
Mason County Circuit Court jury of first-degree trafficking
in a controlled substance and of being a first-degree
persistent felony offender. He was sentenced to ten
years' imprisonment. His conviction arises from the sale
of a quantity of heroin to a confidential informant, Jennifer
had a romantic history with Appellee. She also had several
other boyfriends around the time she executed the drug buy at
issue here. One of her boyfriends was Christopher Trent.
Trent had been arrested in Mason County for burglary and was
represented by public defender Josh Hitch. Hitch would later
told Hitch that he had "someone else" helping him
get a favorable bond recommendation from the Commonwealth but
refused to identify the person.
to Hitch, Jennifer had entered into an agreement with the
Maysville Police Department to act as a confidential
informant in exchange for Trent receiving a favorable bond
recommendation from the Commonwealth. As a result, the Mason
Circuit Court granted Trent's request for a surety bond.
However, Trent violated the terms of his release and was
Appellee's case proceeded to trial, he prepared an
alternate perpetrator theory j arguing that Jennifer
fabricated the drug transaction that led to his charges.
Appellee contended that he met with Jennifer on the night of
the alleged drug buy hoping to have sex, not to sell her
before Appellee's trial, the Commonwealth provided Hitch
with discovery indicating that Jennifer had acted with the
intention of "helping Christopher Trent with his current
charges." She had been paid three hundred dollars and an
extra one hundred dollars for every successful purchase she
immediately called the Kentucky Bar Association's Ethics
Hotline. His contact there informed him that he had a
conflict but that it would be several days before a formal
letter could be issued confirming that opinion. Hitch also
filed a motion to withdraw as Appellee's attorney.
Although Trent had already been sentenced, Hitch noted that
Trent may elect to file post- conviction motions, which
presumably would have required Hitch's continued
representation. After a hearing on the motion to withdraw,
the trial court denied the motion; the trial court ordered
Hitch to'continue representing Appellee and discontinue
representing Trent post-conviction.
Appellees' trial, Hitch attempted to impeach
Jennifer's testimony concerning her need for money to pay
her living expenses as the primary reason for fabricating her
story that Appellee sold her drugs. Further, as the Appellee
admits in his brief, Hitch also questioned Jennifer
"about whether her motivation for working as a
confidential informant was to receive favorable bond
treatment for Mr. Trent. . . ." In addition to
Jennifer's testimony, the Commonwealth introduced a
recording of the drug buy. Although the video was of poor
quality, the audio was discernable.
previously stated, Appellee was convicted and sentenced to a
total of ten years' imprisonment. In a split decision,
the Court of Appeals held, inter alia, that the trial court
erred by failing to grant counsel's motion to withdraw..
As such, the Court of Appeals reversed Appellee's
conviction and sentence. This Court granted the
Commonwealth's motion for discretionary review. Having