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Letter: John Hatfield to Ronnie Kimble



TELEPHONE (336) 273-0589
FAX (336) 273-9238





May 8, 2000

Mr. Ronnie Kimble
Odom Correctional Institute

Route 1, Box 36
Jackson, NC 27845

Dear Ronnie:

I am in receipt of your letter dated April 19 and postmarked May 3 from Julian I have not had occasion to write to you since June 22, 1999 when I responded to your previous request to turn over copies of documents and other evidentiary items.

I have looked over my records of your murder trial and related matters and they are very voluminous, filling two large file boxes. Innumerable items of pretrial discovery and correspondence that was turned over to me at various times bear my personal notations along with post-it notes and other memoranda.

Also I have numerous file folders labeled with the names of potential witnesses containing interviews, discovery materials, addresses and the like.

If and when it is going to be necessary to copy these files. it will be extremely difficult to do.

As I told your father when he called me a few days ago. I do not believe that my duties as a lawyer in North Carolina require me to operate some kind of lending library of innumerable documents. remembered or imagined, that you ask me to find any copy and forward to you or your family, Bear in mind it is not the copying costs but the human time involved in locating these documents in the tiles After a long trial my files are shape) by the sequence of events of the trial itself. Sometimes items are put back in the file in a random way because they were pulled out for a short time for review before particular witness was called to the stand or for motions that may have been heard in court. My personal work product is not separate and

Mr. Ronnie Kimble

Page Two
May 8, 2000

distinct from the documents given to me to prepare for trial. Since 1 am entitled to keep my work product it makes it difficult for me to turn over items of pretrial discovery and other documents that may be given to me during the preparation stages of a trial. l am sure you can understand this because all of the documents in your case were personally reviewed by you in the jail.

As I wrote to you on June 22, "You participated in the preparation arid evaluation of every material witness..." who appeared in your trial with the possible exception of Dr. Wilmington, and the decision not to call Dr. Wilmington was made by David and myself because we believed that his testimony would hurt more than help you.

In your letter of April 19 you have turned to the subject of Janet Smith. Your first request is for copies of the warrant. I cannot find this and since it is a matter of public record, your parents can obtain it as easily as I can. You request all original letters from Janet Smith that you supposedly turned over to David Lloyd and me. Because I am not sure that the Janet Smith matter is entirely over, I am going to decline to turn over originals to you at this time. However, I am enclosing transcripts prepared by the State and copies made by me and reviewed by you.

You asked for a memorandum circulated by Detective Church at the detention center. I have never heard of such a memorandum and do not have it in my file. You asked for specific dates of all hearings prior to trial. The only hearing I recall involving Janet Smith was a voir dire in the murder trial to determine the admissibility of your statement to the effect that you would lie to protect her. Obviously since it was used in the murder trial you can obtain it yourself in the trial transcript.

I am sending the enclosed materials directly to you because I want to use this opportunity to remind you that everything that David Lloyd and 1 could do to prepare your murder case for trial was done. Both David and 1 met with you in the jail scores of times. 1 hope that the materials I am including with this letter are helpful and satisfy your curiosity about Janet Smith. You may be interested to know that neither David Lloyd nor 1 were ever informed that the Smith case had been dismissed. Thus neither of us have been able to apply to the court for compensation for the work that we did in the Smith matter.

Very truly yours,



John B. Hatfield, Jr.



cc:  Mr. David Lloyd

Enclosures include:  (see PDF)


Plea Offer, 8/14/98

Media article, May 19, 1998

4 page letter from Janet Smith to Ronnie Kimble




Published August 15, 2006.  Report broken links or other problems.

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