Appeal of Kuzdzal conviction reversal to be heard by state's highest court

Mar 1, 2017

New York State's highest court will hear the Erie County District Attorney's appeal in the reversed murder conviction of Matthew Kuzdzal, who was tried for the death of his then-girlfriend's young son.

Kuzdzal was convicted in 2014 of Second Degree Murder and Predatory Sexual Assault in the death of 5-year-old Eain Brooks. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Matthew Kuzdzal was convicted in 2014 of murdering and sexually abusing 5-year-old Eain Brooks. In November 2016, the conviction was reversed. Now, the New York Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the Erie County District Attorney's appeal.
Credit WBFO file photo

But last November, an appellate panel reversed the conviction, ruling that Justice Christopher Burns should have further explored claims by an individual that two jurors could be overheard outside the courtroom referring to Kuzdzal as a "scumbag."

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn believes the trial was conducted properly and is seeking to have the original conviction restored. He stated last December that he would pursue an appeal. On Wednesday, he announced that the New York Court of Appeals has agreed to hear arguments.

Flynn says his appeal will focus exclusively on that claim of juror bias and how Justice Burns handled it. In the DA's opinion, Burns acted properly.

"He did not find that the witness was credible and he proceeded with the trial," Flynn said. "We are of the opinion that the trial court did nothing wrong here and that the conviction should stand."

If the appeal is denied, Flynn intends to re-try Kuzdzal on the original counts for which he was convicted. Kuzdzal remains held without bail during the appeal process.