Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paterson Man Seeks to Retract Guilty Plea

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paterson Man Seeks to Retract Guilty Plea

Article excerpt

A Paterson man who had admitted to fatally shooting a Wayne teen on his high school graduation day during a robbery is seeking to retract his guilty plea, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Quashan Faircloth said he pleaded guilty to the killing of 18- year-old Isaac Rinas upon poor advice of his former attorney without reviewing all the evidence against him, said his new attorney, Joel Harris, at a hearing in Superior Court in Paterson.

Harris said Faircloth had stated to him that he is not guilty of the shooting and that the evidence he is seeking to review -- a surveillance video from the area of the scene of the crime -- would show that another person was involved in the homicide.

Judge Marilyn Clark pressed Harris with a series of questions, asking whether Faircloth has indeed received the video and if the video contains any evidence that helps his case.

The judge stressed that Faircloth entered a very detailed guilty plea in October 2015 in which he described his role in the shooting.

"Is he saying that that was all a fabrication?" Clark asked.

"Yes," Harris replied. "It's his position that he is innocent of this charge, and the details he gave you at the time of the plea are not true."

Eileen Kane, a Passaic County assistant prosecutor, said that Faircloth gave a detailed confession during his guilty plea, offering details that only a person involved in the crime would know. She said that those details are also corroborated by other evidence -- indicating that they are unlikely to be a fabrication.

Kane argued that defendants who plead guilty should be allowed to retract their pleas only in the interest of justice, in cases where the defendant may have pleaded guilty to a crime he or she did not commit.

"That is not the case here," Kane said. "The evidence of his guilt is overwhelming."

The evidence against Faircloth includes statements by his co- defendants, Casey Cole of Wayne and Bishma Cowan of Paterson, both of whom gave statements that were consistent with the details that Faircloth offered in court during his guilty plea. …

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