James Dailey prosecutor defends using jailhouse informant as a witness: Part 9

Dailey, who is on death row for the 1985 murder of Shelly Boggio, said Skalnik's lies helped convict him. One of the prosecutors in the case says Dailey received “an appropriate sentence.”
7:15 | 10/24/20

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Transcript for James Dailey prosecutor defends using jailhouse informant as a witness: Part 9
teenager was brutally murdered in Florida. Now her killer may finally be executed. But new evidence in the case is sparking attornies to fight for exoneration. It's terrible that we're willing to put someone to death based on the word of Paul skalnik. When I interviewed James Dailey on death row, he told me he's been trying to prove that he didn't get a fair trial. He says prosecutors improperly used a jailhouse snitch to convict him. Robert Heyman was one of those prosecutors. So did you feel that Paul skalnik was credible? Skalnik, you know, we vetted him. I mean, I know he's been under attack as a professional snitch. But yeah, we checked him out. This is a guy who is a professional con man at this point, and you knew it. And you knew it. Absolutely. You also knew that in 1982 he was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 14. So not only are you taking the word of a con man, you're taking the word of a child molester, a predator. And this is the man who you used to put Dailey behind bars for the rest of his life and possibly in the chair. Let's back it up. Yeah, we knew what his history was. We knew that he had a checkered past, let's face it. Do you think that the jury would have found skalnik to be credible if they knew that he was a sex offender? His criminal record was talked about at the trial. I'm not sure the sex offender part was brought up. In fact, Robert Heyman and his co-counsel never did tell James Dailey's jury what Paul skalnik had allegedly done to 12-year-old Karen parker. But the thought does seem to have crossed their minds. Because prosecutors' notes from the trial obtained by Dailey's attorneys decades later, seem to show, and I've seen it myself, that someone scribbled "Sex assault" and then struck it out twice. This is your handwriting, right? Go ahead, you take it. You crossed out the word "Sex offender." Electing not to talk about it. I'm not sure that's why I crossed it out. I have no idea. This is 30-some-odd years old. Obviously I knew about it. And yet you put him on the Absolutely. You crossed out bunch of his criminal history there. Josh Dubin is an innocence project advisor and renowned advocate for the wrongfully convicted. He may not look like a typical lawyer, but he's got a track record. In 2018 he battled in court, freeing an innocent man from Florida's death row. Now he's on James Dailey's case, with the same goal. I show him some of my interview with the former prosecutor. This is 30-some-odd years old. Obviously I knew about it. I got to catch my breath after that one. I got to tell you. That's way worse than I thought. When Paul skalnik was cross-examined about his crimes during Dailey's 1987 trial he admitted to grand theft, but he denied even being charged with violent offenses. Quote, grand theft counselor, not murder. Not rape. No physical violence in my life, end quote. I mean the fact that the prosecutor didn't correct him, just admitted to you that he knew full well what he had been charged with and kept that from the jury is not only astounding, it's disgusting. Do you know how many times this has been reviewed by courts, both in the state and the federal levels? And they seem to have been satisfied so far. You're saying that they're infallible? I'm saying that I am comfortable with two things that lawyers should be comfortable with. One, trial by an impartial jury, and that's what Dailey got. Number two, appellate review to make sure that the trial was fair, that the jury was impartial, that the evidence was appropriate. So, would you be satisfied if you saw Dailey put to death? I think that's an appropriate sentence under the law of the state of Florida. All rise. Circuit court is now back in session. Honorable pat Siracusa circuit court justice presiding. Good morning, you can be seated. All right, so argument on 1-c and 2. In a February 2020 hearing about whether Dailey will be allowed to present more evidence that his conviction should be overturned, Dailey's attorneys argue prosecutors allowed their witness Paul skalnik to mislead James Dailey's jury about the fact skalnik had been charged in a sex assault. It was a misrepresentation to that jury. At that time he had an affirmative obligation to correct that false testimony. State attorneys tell the judge that skalnik had never been convicted of what Karen parker says he did to her because the case had been dropped. Unfortunately, lewd and lascivious charges are always difficult to prove. They're difficult to take to trial and is often a he said/she said type of case. The state argues trial attorneys would have been barred from questioning skalnik about Karen parker, whether they knew about it or not, because he had not been convicted of the charge, it was dropped. My understanding of the rules of evidence is that I'm not allowed to impeach a witness with the fact that they were arrested on a charge that was subsequently dismissed. I don't know if James Dailey is guilty or not, but I do believe that if any of his sentencing is based on the testimony of Paul skalnik, that should be wiped away and start over because he's -- he's just -- he's a perfect liar. A perfect liar? There was more evidence against Paul skalnik in that child sexual assault case than there was against James Dailey in the murder of Shelley Boggio. You're about to see why appeals so rarely succeed. I'm going to find that you are in fact still time barred and that Heyman's acknowledgement that he's the actual author of the notes doesn't open it up to additional discovery or an additional claim, so I'll deny the claim. But the judge also has good news for Dailey, deciding to grant another hearing. So judge Siracusa granted our requests for an evidentiary hearing. This one to present testimony from an astonishing source, James Dailey's old buddy, his codefendant in this terrible crime, jack Pearcy. We are about to witness an incredible scene. Jack Pearcy and James Dailey together again. And this time, a stunning admission. After nearly 35 years, one of them has a confession to make. I brought you here so that you could tell your story.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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