POT-CASE SET FOR TRIAL
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Judge Michael Maggio ordered
both prosecutor Steven Hawks and defense attorney Kent Tester to be
ready for trial November 5 in the Michael Kelley pot cultivation case.
Kelley was arrested in March of this year on pot-cultivation and
Tester motioned for a continuance, stating that a large volume of discovery material previously requested from the prosecutor's office had only been delivered to him within the last 24 hours.
Tester wanted to know why it had taken so long for this material to appear, particularly referring to new charges from VBC Sheriff's investigator Randy Murray that CI #7032503 had made 'a controlled buy' of approximately 23 grams of marijuana from Kelley on March 25 of this year, an allegation which Kelley vehemently denies.
As this case has unfolded over the months, the initial allegation which resulted in Kelley's arrest last March was cited by Murray as an anonymous 'concerned citizen.' In a following motion to the court however, prosecutor Hawks acknowledged that this was incorrect; that the initial allegation actually came by way of a Confidential Informant (CI) in the hire of VBC law enforcement. In the amended complaint filed in September, Hawks named the informer as Daniel Watts of Shirley.
In this amended complaint, Murray states he wired informer Watts with a recording and listening device and that the dope sale was clearly audible.
"It just never happened," Kelley asserts. "I never sold pot to Watts. In fact, he sold pot to me."
Also, attorney Tester was more than a little annoyed that the prosecution had allowed the Sheriffs Dept. to stop Watts from attending an earlier hearing after he was duly subpoenaed, suggesting this was illegal.
"They killed my subpoena your honor, " Tester argued before the Judge, "and now Daniel Watts has been acknowledged to have used a wire on Mr. Kelley and I want him here to speak to this issue as the law demands that a defendant be able to face his accuser."
Tester noted for the record that in light of this large volume of new material, including a one-hour tape recording made in a covert capacity by CI #7032503, aka: Daniel Watts, at this time Tester was not ready to proceed to trial.
Judge Maggio ruled that, in his opinion, ample time remained for Tester to prepare before the established trial date and ordered prosecutor Hawks to produce Daniel Watts on November 5. Hawks promised that Watts would appear as ordered.
HOSTS RECOGNITION CEREMONY
"And many women are killed in front of the children, and the children are left behind," McCay elaborated on the insidious effects of domestic violence that emotionally strangle family members and friends of the victims.
According to the FBI, domestic violence is one of the most under-reported crimes in our nation. Nationally, approximately 1/3 of all women who visit a hospital emergency room are there because of domestic abuse. If a viral infection took such a toll it would be called a plague of pandemic proportion.
Here in Arkansas, 20 to 40 women die annually, murdered at the hands of male partners. Mostly they are beaten to death. Sometimes they are shot. Always, the tragedy could have and should have been averted.
In this regard, McCay lauded praise and appreciation of VBC Sheriff Scott Bradley and Sgt. Paul Rice who head’s up the VBC Domestic Violence Response Unit. "These officers respond immediately when we call on them, to report a situation and request intervention," McCay extolled. "In appreciation and thanks for the support they provide to end domestic abuse, we are acknowledging them with this engraved plaque."
The inscription reads:
Of the individuals attending the ceremony, by a show of hands, nearly every one had personally or by family involvement been subjected to some form of domestic violence. Pat Blackstone of The Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence specifically addressed the subject of deception, noting how abusive, manipulative and controlling individuals badger others into submission by lying, making false accusations and using terms of endearment like battering rams.
Too often extracting a literal pound of flesh, the objects of this distorted affection are humiliated, lambasted, and threatened into a chronic state of dejection from which there seems to be no escape. "These women most need to know that it is not their fault," Blackstone emphasized. "They are being exploited, abused and victimized."
During the ceremony, the names of the commemorated women were read, Shawn Walsh, Music Ministry Pastor of First Baptist Church in Clinton, gave a beautiful a capella rendition of Amazing Grace, candles were lighted and eighteen white balloons were released in tribute.
"This is where Dove House comes in," Blackstone praised. "And the City of Clinton is truly blessed to have such a dedicated group at work here."
The Dove House of Van Buren County, working in cooperation with United Way, offers physical shelter and a rehabilitation program to any person who is suffering emotional or physical abuse at the hands of another. Although the vast majority of abuse victims are women, Dove house even has a male advocate, Henry Dennison.
In total, Dove House is operated by a staff of 15 volunteers, 7 of whom serve as board members. Among themselves they staff the 24-hour Hot Line (501.745.5657), receive and allocate donations, and operate the residential shelter facility where victims reside while making transition out of an abusive relationship.
The Dove House of Van Buren Co., works with the Sheriffs office, the Domestic Violence unit, the Prosecutor's office, the Clinton Police, DHS, area churches and many other volunteer groups to offer physical shelter and protection for physically and emotionally abused women and children.
"At Dove House we provide all basic needs and do whatever is necessary
to keep victims of domestic abuse safe and secure. As part of our
recovery program in addition to counseling and help with child care we
get them training so they can get a decent job. So they can be happy and
self-sufficient." McCay explained. "We are very appreciative of
everyone who turned out for our program. We know they left with a much
more profound understanding of the complexity of this problem and how
important it is for us to all work together to solve it."
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