MISSOULA – A hearing in the case of a Stevensville woman who was convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence in 2011 continued on Tuesday and heavily focused on whether or not she received effective counsel at her original trial.
Katie Garding is asking to have her conviction thrown out and for a new trial based on new evidence uncovered by the Montana Innocence Project. Garding was found guilty of striking and killing Bronson Parsons, 25, with her vehicle on New Year’s Day in 2008.
Garding’s defense lawyer from the original trial, Jennifer Treano — and the Montana Innocence Project — are arguing that Treano was ineffective as counsel. Both say that because Treano did not provide a recreation of the crash scene, that Garding did not receive a fair trial.
They also argue that Treano should have requested help when she needed it. Her former co-counsel from the case, Steven Scott, was dismissed before the case went to trial.
Treano said that decision was made because Scott was ineffective as co-counsel, but in court Tuesday, Scott said he remembered the lead-up to Garding’s trial differently.
"I would approach her to say after I had got the discovery and read through it, I would ask ‘when do you want to talk about the case’?" Scott said. "’When do you want to meet? When do you want to discuss this?’ And I was told, ‘I got it under control. You don’t need to worry about anything. I’ve got it handled. Don’t worry about it’.’"
Both legal teams were told by Judge John Larson on Tuesday that they would not be revisiting old evidence from the original trial in order keep the focus on the current hearing.