Greene County Case Declared Mistrial After Discovery of Surprise Document

By Benjamin Cox on March 21, 2023 at 2:37pm

A Sangamon County man had his case in Greene County Circuit Court declared a mistrial yesterday.

40 year old Michael J. Tolliver, formerly of New Berlin, was booked into the Greene County Jail by Carrollton Police after a traffic stop on May 30, 2022 for aggravated battery of a peace officer, driving on a suspended license, resisting a peace officer, unlawful display of title, driving without a seat belt, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

Tolliver posted bond on the charges on June 8, 2022. The court then had difficulty locating Tolliver through correspondence from June to November of last year, eventually finding that he had relocated to an address in Chatham. This lead to Tolliver’s case returning to the docket in Greene County last month, according to online court records.

On Monday, jury selection was completed and a trial into Tolliver’s case began. According to correspondence from Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe an unnamed document was created by one of the witnesses approximately 6 weeks after Tolliver’s arrest. Briscoe says the document was never sent to the witness’ supervisor for approval nor provided to the State’s Attorney’s Office, making it a complete surprise to the court and to the State’s Attorney’s Office yesterday during the jury setting.

Briscoe says it was an unfortunate mistake: ā€œ No one but the creator of the document knew the document existed until the day of the trial. Our system is set up so that in the interest of fairness, surprises are not allowed. It goes without saying that this was a total surprise to everyone involved. There are different options available to the judge in a situation such as this, but Judge [Zachary] Schmidt felt that declaring a mistrial was the most appropriate. I cannot stress enough to you that this witness is an exceptional public servant, and I do not believe in any way that he acted with any degree of bad faith. An unfortunate mistake was made. I hope all in law enforcement can learn from this and we can all get better.ā€

Briscoe went on to thank the citizens of Greene County who reported for jury duty or were selected to serve as jurists in the case. Judge Schmidt dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the state is prohibited from refiling the charges.