In Sosnowicz, the medical examiner called the running-over of the victim "murder," and his sole rationale for rendering that opinion was what he had garnered from police investigators.

In Martinson, key prosecution witness Dr. John Hu of the Office of the Medical Examiner testified that Josh was the victim of a homicide. Again, this was based almost exclusively on what police told him before the postmortem.

Judge Duncan chided herself for having allowed Hu to testify about the manner of death, writing that she "improperly allowed an expert witness to tell the jury how to decide the case . . . Dr. Hu did not rely on any specialized knowledge in making his findings. Instead, he based his opinion on information that he was no more uniquely qualified to determine than the [jurors]."

Jeff Martinson, accused in a 2004 murder case
Darryl Webb/Ahwatukee Foothills News
Jeff Martinson, accused in a 2004 murder case

It is uncertain whether prosecutors will drop their call for the death penalty before Martinson's retrial or whether they will offer him a plea bargain to reduced charges. The former business consultant has been incarcerated in a Maricopa County jail since his arrest shortly after his son's tragic passing.

Martinson's defense lawyers filed paperwork last week, asking that a "reasonable" bond be set in the case. Surely, prosecutors will object to any such reduction.

The motivation for allegedly murdering little Josh involved custody and then-ongoing financial disputes between him and his estranged girlfriend. Martinson had expressed increasing frustration with how things were going for him in Family Court, records show.

Martinson later told Phoenix police that he had no idea how Josh had gotten the Soma tablet (probably just one, according to toxicology tests of the child's gastric contents) at his apartment during a weekend visit, and that he had tried to commit suicide after finding his son dead.

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