I had a hearing on Friday June 17, 2011 and I wanted to give everyone an update on my case. The 3rd and newest judge in my case is Judge Brian Hill of Rush County, Indiana. He replaced Judge John Westhafer who withdrew because he was good friends with the alleged victim, Judge James D. Humphrey. Judge Hill’s first ruling was an order granting my public defender’s motion to withdraw. Judge Hill’s second order set the dates for my pre-trial hearing and my jury trial; Mon. July 18, 2011 at 1:30PM and Tues. August 16, 2011 at 8:30AM, respectively.
The State of Indiana is trying to pull a fast one here. The legal geniuses in the Dearborn County Court system should have known that it would be a conflict of interest for Dearborn Superior Court II Judge Sally Blankenship to preside over a matter concerning another Dearborn County judge. After setting my bond at $600,000 and setting a pretrial hearing for April 26, 2011, Judge Blankenship bailed. The Indiana Supreme Court then appointed Judge Humphrey’s good friend, Judge Westhafer, to preside over my case. Rather than decline the appointment, Judge Westhafer accepted one month, then waited a month to come to the conclusion that the appearance of impropriety may exist if he presided over a case where the alleged victim was a close friend and fellow judge. So when I finally get a hearing in front of a judge who can hear my case, Judge Hill discharges my public defender, as requested by my public defender, and sets my jury trial for less than two months away.
The 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial. Indiana law mandates that the state must try an inmate within six months, barring some exceptions such as court congestion, the defendant’s failure to raise the issue of a speedy trial with the court, etc… The number one way that a defendant can waive his right to a speedy trial is to petition the Court to continue the trial past the six month mark. The state of Indiana appointed a public defender who took two months to figure out that it was a conflict of interest to represent me because he had cases in Judge Humphrey’s Court. Then the State took nearly three months to find a judge that could preside over my case. In my first hearing in front of a capable judge, Judge Hill allows my lawyer to withdraw, then tells me that my jury trial is on August 16, 2011, less than two months away. If my trial would have been set for after September 7, 2011, the state would have had to release me because I would have been denied my right to a speedy trial.
Now I have less than two months to prepare for trial. I have no idea who my public defender will be or when he/she will be contacting me. My public defender will have the responsibility of reviewing a few thousand pages of documents, deposing witnesses, subpoenaing evidence, and preparing it all for a trial less than two months away. Of course my attorney may request the Court to continue the final hearing, and I’m sure the continuance will be granted; at the expense of waiving my right to a speedy trial.
Most defendants get at least four or five months to prepare for trial. My original pretrial was set for April 26, 2011. If Judge Blankenship would have held the hearing, she probably would have set my trial date for sometime in August so my lawyer and I would have ample time to prepare a defense. Now, rather than having roughly four months to prepare for trial, I have less than two. The time needed for trial preparation did not decrease, but the State’s deadline for giving me a speedy trial did. So in exchange for my right to a speedy trial, the state was willing to compromise my right to a fair trial.
I don’t want people to worry about me because I am confident about my case. The bottom line is that the State of Indiana is adamantly against the right to free speech but the State seems to have forgotten that the law of the land is dictated by one of the most important documents in the history of mankind; The United States Constitution. Dearborn County Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard and Dearborn Circuit Judge James D. Humphrey can try to “ignore and desecrate” the United States Constitution but it is only a matter of time before a federal court or the high court of the United States condemns Dearborn County and the State of Indiana for their tyrannical oppression of free speech.
Thanks for the support and stay tuned for more updates.
Feel free to reach me/my family at: firstname.lastname@example.org