Thursday, September 14, 2006

KODE: LePage decision makes former cult members fear for safety

McDonald County Circuit Court Judge John LePage's ruling ordering early release of discovery items in the felony sex cases against four leaders of the Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church has potential witnesses worried, according to the latest report by KODE's Tara Brown.
KODE and John Ford of the Neosho Daily News revealed LePage's decision Wednesday.
According to KODE's website:



Anonymous said...

Must be important to be in all caps.

Anonymous said...

For you non-lawyer types here’s a simplified overview of what discovery means and what a defendant has a right to and when:

The Missouri rules provide a detailed list of those items which the state must provide upon written request of the defendant's counsel, which includes:

“The names and last known addresses of persons whom the state intends to call as witnesses at any hearing or at the trial, together with their written or recorded statements, and existing memoranda reporting or summarizing part or all of their oral statements.” (See V.A.M.R. Crim. Rule 25.03 (1)).”

So, the defendant’s attorney definitely has a right to these items. However, he only has a right to them AFTER an “indictment” or “information” has been filed. In this case a Grand Jury did not indite the defendants, rather the case was commenced by the filing of a criminal “complaint.” Furthermore, an “information” will not be filed until AFTER a preliminary hearing has been held and the court finds probable cause to bind the defendant over into Circuit Court.

Now, under the rules there is NO authority for an Associate Judge to order discovery while a defendant is awaiting his preliminary hearing on a complaint. See, State ex rel. George v. Jones, 929 S.W.2d 256 (Mo.App. S.D. 1996).

In Jones, the defendant was charged with a felony and was awaiting a preliminary hearing, at which point the Associate Judge, (as in this case) ordered the State to make disclosures pursuant to request for discovery. Thereafter, the prosecuting attorney in Jones brought an original proceeding in prohibition to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals noted that the criminal case which gave rise to the proceeding in Jones was not commenced by way of an indictment but by the filing of a criminal complaint. Ergo, the Court held that the Associate Judge was not authorized to permit discovery and thus made the order of prohibition absolute (i.e., they told the prosecutor that he didn’t have to turn over the discovery until after the preliminary hearing was concluded and an information was filed).

Since McDonald county is in the Southern District and Jones has not been overturned, I would say the Associate Judge overstepped his authority in this instance.

That being said, I think some of the implications that I have read here that the Judge and defense attorneys would allow witness intimidation and/or tampering is ludicrous. If you want these people convicted and you want their convictions to stand then at some point the defense attorney will HAVE to depose the accusers, if he fails to do that then the defendants would have a classic case to make for ineffective assistance of counsel (which would mean an overturned conviction). Thus, the defense attorney needs to know the names and address of the accusers at some point. I just do not think that now is the legally correct time.

Anonymous said...

How awful that a judge would order that. IF anything happens to any of them I say sue the Judge on a personal basis and let Evenson represent him...oops but is there another judge like LePage that could help himself out of hot water!
When does Judge LePage come up for re-election? I urge all McDonald county voters to get off there buttocks and get out there and find someone, in this case a dog will do, to run against this beast and vote for the dog.
I remember being taught that when the devil comes to you in this world you may not be able to recognize him. I think I do recognize him and he wears a robe.

Anonymous said...

Earth to Geeding: Dismiss this case now and refile it and take it out of Judge LePage's hands. His former partnership with the defense attorney Evenson is not a good thing in this case it appears.

Randy said...

Sorry about the all caps. I copied and pasted that passage from KODE's website and KODE puts everything in all caps.

Anonymous said...

I had forgotten about the old partnership of Evenson, Carlin and LePage until just being reminded of it today. Couldn't/wouldn't that be a conflict of interest?

C'mon your part because we all can see this isn't going to be done fairly for the victims with LePage at the helm.
Maybe this case should get transferred to Newton County where I think Scott Watson would be all over it like a rabid dog.
How would one go about reporting this judges actions to a higher power? I want to know and I will report it!!

Anonymous said...

(Sorry about the caps it's KODE)...Damn those poor folks can't catch a break from you can they? I bet they caused your folic problem to. That's hair loss for you people with hair.

Anonymous said...

The person who wrote in with the legal "primer" on discovery seems like a very knowledgeable person. I learned from it and found it helpful in understanding this issue. Randy, once again your blog proves to be a valuable public service.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone catch the comment last night on KODE news where LePage was quoted as saying "that's just the way we do things down here". Sounds like he makes his own rules for his own buddies.
If it walks like a jerk and quacks like a jerk it's probably a jerk.