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Bellendir trial set for Nov. 14

Judge unhappy with delay

POSTED August 8, 2018 6:25 p.m.

The senior judge overseeing the criminal case against Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said 100 jurors were called for a July 16 trial before it was canceled, and he doesn’t want that to happen again. Bellendir’s jury trial has been rescheduled to 9 a.m. on Nov. 14.
Bellendir was charged last October with one count of mistreatment of a confined person, Nathan B. Manley. The charge is a misdemeanor.
Shortly before the July 16 trial date, Senior Judge Edward Bouker held a telephone conference with Bellendir and his attorney, Jess Hoeme, as well as Special Prosecutor William Halvorsen. He granted the delay, but voiced his displeasure:
“The court has called at least 100 jurors for this thing. That’s not a small amount of work,” he said.

“As I said, now we’ve got the clerk’s office which has done a substantial amount of work in calling 100 jurors, we have now inconvenienced 100 people, all of which is exactly contrary to the conversation we had in the administrative assistant’s office,” he said.

Hoeme said he was scheduled to present oral arguments before the Kansas Court of Appeals on another case on July 17 and added, “it is extremely important that those arguments proceed as scheduled and no substitute counsel is available or prepared to argue.”
Prospective jurors for Bellendir’s trial were sent questionnaires, and Hoeme said the responses convinced him that even more detailed questionnaires are needed.
The added time will allow for “expanded questionnaires.”
Meanwhile, he has requested that the prosecution present any “Brady-type evidence relative to the witnesses.”
The term Brady Disclosure comes from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, in which the Court ruled that the prosecution must turn over all evidence that might exonerate the defendant to the defense.
“It is known that the victim (Manley) has an extensive criminal history record and no particular details of such record have yet been produced,” Hoeme said.

Bouker noted that the issue of the questionnaires had been addressed in a previous pre-trial hearing. The July 16 trial date was to have sufficed, and the defense would be allowed to question prospective jurors more thoroughly during the selection process if necessary.
He also noted that Hoeme knew when the trial date was set that he’d be making a presentation to the Court of Appeals. Hoeme said that was true but he later learned the presentation requirements were different than he originally anticipated.

“Quite frankly, it irks me slightly that we’re dealing with this,” Bouker said. “You knew about this case with the Court of Appeals, you thought maybe you would waive, you didn’t even bring it up as a possibility. I also want the record to show that court staff and 100 people called for jury duty have been significantly inconvenienced and need not have been had there been some candor at the time we set this matter.” He invited Hoeme to respond for the record if he disagreed.
“I do not believe that anything that you’ve said is incorrect,” Hoeme said.

While going on the record that he was displeased, Bouker did grant the trial’s continuance.


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