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Auburn murder conviction overturned due to grand jury selection issue

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The conviction of an Auburn man, Gage Ashley, for a 2019 shooting death has been overturned by the state Appellate Division-Fourth Department due to concerns about an illegally constituted grand jury. The appeals court found a flaw in the grand jury selection process that led to Ashley’s 2021 conviction for the murder of 36-year-old Joshua Poole.

The court has ordered the conviction to be reversed, Ashley’s guilty plea to be vacated, and the original indictment dismissed without prejudice, allowing the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office to present any appropriate charges to a different grand jury.

The appeals court agreed with the defense that the grand jury was illegally constituted as one juror was not qualified to serve due to a prior criminal conviction.

Todd Sloan, Ashley’s attorney, had filed a motion to dismiss the indictment before the trial, but the judge had upheld the indictments. The appeals court determined that the judge erred in requiring a showing of prejudice before dismissing the indictment. Cayuga County Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Valdina expressed disagreement with the decision, stating that the DA’s office is reviewing its options and considering whether to place Ashley before another grand jury.