A judge called a Brooklyn, N.Y., mother's "vigilante" attempt to deceive a juror from her son's murder trial an invasion of the juror's privacy amounting to "extraordinary misconduct."
Doreen Giuliano created a false identity in order to befriend and secretly tape-record Jason Allo, whom she believed should never have been on a jury that convicted her son, John Giuca, of murder. She submitted the tape recordings to the court in the hope that her son might be granted a retrial.
The motion was denied by New York State Supreme Court Judge Alan Marrus Wednesday. In his ruling he wrote that Giuliano "engaged in a long-term, quasi-romantic relationship with the juror during which she repeatedly manipulated their conversations to get him to speak about this case, and surreptitiously recorded some of their conversations. This court holds that the defendant is entitled to no relief from his judgment of conviction."
"I'm disappointed in our justice system," Giuliano told ABC News today. "[The judge] spent 40 percent of the opinion degrading me when in fact he should have reprimanded Jason Allo. ... Wouldn't they want to expose the truth? I'm dumbfounded."
For more than a year, Giuliano lived a lie.
She created a false identity, called herself Dee Quinn, changed her appearance and rented an apartment for more than $1,000 a month. The deception was designed to get close to Jason Allo.
"Every time I went to his neighborhood I would have to wear makeup, have my hair done, wear fake eyelashes," she told "Nightline" last month. "So I'm trying to fix myself up for two hours and then get on the bike, or drive there and hope to have an encounter with him."
Giuliano's plan worked, and soon she was "a very nervous actor" with a fake identity and a fake relationship that lasted for months.
"It was all props," she said. "It was staged."
"I was prepared to do anything within the law," she said, to get information from Allo.
Three years ago, Giuliano's son John Giuca, 25, was convicted -- along with another man -- of murdering 19-year-old college football star Mark Fisher, who'd attended a party at the Giuliano's home two blocks from where his body was found in 2003. Fisher had been repeatedly punched in the face and then shot five times.
Giuca was condemned by the tabloids as the "Grid Kid Slayer" and sentenced to 25 years without parole. The conviction was based on testimony from three men and a prison informan, but lacked any forensic evidence.
"I'm devastated," Giuliano, 46, told "Nightline." "I'm heartbroken. This can't happen in America. We stand for fairness, for justice and it's all a joke. I'm never going to give up. I'm going to get it out there. John is innocent. John did not do this. And he's not going to go to jail for the rest of his life."
After the trial, Giuliano said there were rumors that juror Allo, 32, hadn't been honest with the judge, and that he knew of the defendants, something Allo denies.
Giuliano Courts Allo: 'Everything Was Staged'
Believing her son had not received a fair trial, Giuliano took matters into her own hands and began to follow Allo.
"I just sat in my car and watched his routine, going to work, coming back, standing on the corner with his friends," she said. "And then I wanted to try to get to know his personality without him knowing who I was. There was a time when I would wear a burka and stand 2 feet from him and listen in on his conversation with his friend. And he didn't even notice me."
Giuliano said she first made contact with Allo and one of his friends while riding her bike.
"And his friend, he whistled at me," she said. "I was wearing shorts, really short shorts and a really low-cut blouse."
She struck up a conversation with the pair by saying she was new to the neighborhood, and she walked away with Allo's phone number.
"I was shaking in my boots, I was so nervous," she said. "It took me a week to make contact with him after that."
On the verge of inviting him round to her purposely rented apartment (which she called "the sting apartment"), Giuliano had to create a more detailed identity. She decided her alter ego would be a recent transplant from California, and she made a trip to the office supplies store Staples to purchase business cards.
"Plain, $20, black and white," she said. "I didn't plan out well what my profession would be. I was kind of winging it. So I got business management specialist Dee Quinn, my Boost phone number, and a made-up e-mail address that I created."
A week later, Giuliano invited Allo to come over for dinner.
"I'm not very good at cooking, so I bought it," she said. "And everything was staged. Because I couldn't really spend time on cooking because I had to focus on what I was going to say, what I was going to ask. And I was trying to get information that he was tainted or corrupt in some way."
The two embarked on a series of get-togethers between September and December 2007, eating ready-made meals and drinking wine.
When asked if they had a sexual relationship, Giuliano said no, but said, "If I had to, yes, absolutely" she was prepared to do that.
And unknown to Allo, it was all on tape. Giuliano wore a wire and recorded conversations ranging from the mundane, like buying a blender, to the sweetly personal, like a good song for Allo to sing to his niece. Slowly, she moved the conversation toward the trial. In October they discussed how Allo might have avoided jury duty altogether.
On the tape, Allo can be heard saying he should have used the excuse that "I'm prejudiced." "I hate Jews!" he joked. "That's how most people get out."
Caught on Tape
At one point Allo seemed to indicate that he thought John Giuca was Jewish.
"They tried to make him out to be like the Tony Soprano, but he was a f**king clown too," Allo said on the tape. "He's a tall, skinny Jewish kid with glasses."
Giuliano acknowledged that the fact that she believed Allo expressed racist views doesn't prove that her son's conviction was wrong. Still she said, "If you come to a guilty verdict based on that, then is that a fair trial?"
In December, Allo began to say things that suggested he should not have been on that jury at all because he knew some of the witnesses.
"Technically, by law, if I knew that s**t I shouldn't have even been in that jury," he said on the tape. "By law, you're not supposed to be. Because they ask you in the beginning when you go to jury duty if … they read you a list of all the witnesses."
Despite saying that, on the tapes Allo also tells Giuliano that he didn't know any of the witnesses' names when they were initially read in court, suggesting that he may not have realized that he knew some of the witnesses until later.
"He had a frame of mind, knowing that he should not have been on that jury, due to several reasons. One is because he knew friends of John's and what they do and their lifestyle," Giuliano said. "Their lifestyle was prejudicing him against John."
On another occasion, Allo suggested he had some inside knowledge about those who were on trial.
"I'll tell you this, but I would never tell anybody else. I actually had some type of information," he said. "A friend of mine, she told me some stuff that she heard. Well, it's not even a friend, it's my cousin, and she wouldn't lie about something like that."'
'I'll Continue to Fight'
"Nightline" wanted to give Allo a chance to respond to what Giuliano considered to be his racist comments and her allegation that he failed to tell the judge that he knew some of the witnesses.
Allo insisted that his lawyer, Salvatore Strazzullo, be present. The interview lasted 45 minutes, but he barely answered any questions.
Allo's attorney repeatedly interrupted questions referencing Allo's quotes on the tape, denying that his client ever said he shouldn't be a juror because "I'm prejudiced/ I hate Jews."
When pressed, Strazzullo said, "Well, I guess your interpretation is a little different than mine. I have known Jason now for about three to four months, and he hasn't shown an ounce of bias or prejudiced against anyone."
When asked if he recalls ever making any anti-Semitic remarks, Allo said, "To anybody ever? I can't say yes. I can't say no. "
Allo and his attorney both denied that he said he shouldn't have been on the jury and Strazzullo would not allow his client to answer questions about whether he knew any of the young men involved in the case, "Because [the case is] in the appellate division right now, and we have respect for the process."
When asked if he committed perjury, Allo said "absolutely not" and said he didn't withhold information during jury selection and was completely honest about everything that he knew.
In his ruling, the judge said that Giuliano's recordings "conspicuously lack the necessary foundation required by law for admissibility in a court proceeding."
Giuliano plans to appeal the decision. "We have to file a leave application to take it to the appeals courts," she said. "I'm devastated and of course I'm disappointed... I'm angry; I'm disgusted in our justice system. They buried the truth. The hearing would have revealed the truth."
In her interview with "Nightline" last month, Giuliano vowed to keep fighting to free her son.
"I'll continue to fight," she said. "I'm not going to go away, I'm never going to go away."