NORWICH – Convicted murderer Ganesh R. Ramsaran appeared in Chenango County Court Friday with his lawyers urging the judge to grant them a hearing to discuss the work of defense counsel during the 2014 murder trial. They hope the case can get a new trial.
Ramsaran was convicted of murdering his wife and was sentenced to 25 years to life after a jury convicted him on Sept. 23, 2014.
Monday the defense asked for the court to hear concerns about the trial and attorneys pointed to several issues in the case they thought deserved further explanation in court. They offered a scathing assessment of Ramsaran's trial attorney, Gil Garcia, calling his defense incompetent and possibly exploitative.
Attorneys told the court Friday that Ramsaran family misunderstood or was misled by Garcia, who they said was paid $20 to $60 thousand for expert testimony and forensics in the case. They said he met with none during the trial and kept the money.
The attorneys said Garcia had no trial experience and that they also had information showing he was searching online for advice on forensics and homicide defenses while the the trial was taking place.
“Mr. Garcia is a New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer who had never tried a criminal case in his life, he comes to a different state and decides to take a homicide case for his first one,” said Defense Attorney Melissa K. Swartz. She was one of two lawyers representing Ramsaran in court.
“Again, a non-criminal lawyer, with experience from working in another state, takes a homicide case in New York involving a woman who was missing for months,” said Swartz.
When she first heard about the case she said her response was “There is no way a bankruptcy attorney from New Jersey, who never tried a misdemeanor should be coming here to try the gravest of offenses possible. I thought it was a prank, it is absurd.”
The other attorney, J. David Hammond, said, “The defense in this case was - there was no defense in this case.” He said the defense called no witnesses and did not hire any forensic experts during the trial.
“You have a three-week trial with three weeks of the prosecution making its case, resting its case, and then the defense basically resting. No witnesses called.”
Hammond said Garcia rested the defense's case immediately after the prosecution and the court accepted it.
However, the following day Ramasaran wanted to testify on his own behalf and Garcia convinced the court to grant an exception and allow Ramsaran to take the stand.