IMAX file photo by IPT

The entrance to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution.

The Idaho Department of Correction has responded to a subpoena and turned over hundreds of pages of previously undisclosed evidence just weeks before a case was set to go to trial, writes Idaho Press reporter Tommy Simmons.

The case is that of Robert Mendez, 38, an inmate who prosecutors say broke another inmate’s jaw in May 2018. He is charged with aggravated battery, which is the same crime for which he was in prison to begin with.

The case had initially been set for trial May 30. About a month before that, a judge in a different case declared a mistrial after learning that IDOC officials had withheld records. That prompted the Ada County prosecutor in Mendez’s case, Brent Ferguson, to physically inspect department files himself. He found correction officials in Mendez’s case, too, had not turned over information they should have.

The case has since been in limbo, as Ferguson filed a subpoena on May 2 and Reed Smith, Mendez’s attorney, waited to receive the new evidence himself. He did finally receive it Wednesday morning, he said in court. It was voluminous.

You can read Simmons' full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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