1) According to Mr. Gurrister, three motions "will be 'aired' at the next status conference, set for March 19 before Judge Hyde."
Translation: That's when all pending motions will be "argued."
And here are the motions which will be reportedly argued on that date:
a) Richards Defense Motion: Renewed motion for a restraining order "to prevent destruction of evidence" by the prosecution;
b) Richards Defense Motion: Third discovery motion complaining that discovery materials have not been supplied to Stewart's Attorney of Record, and also alleging that prosecutors would release them only to his newly-appointed public defender team;
c) Prosecution Motion: the earlier-discussed "gag order" remains pending.
2) Here's the essential fact timeline to date:
- Within a few short days of the tragic 1/4/12 Ogden Shooting incident, the Stewart family retains Mr. Richards to defend Defendant Matthew Stewart;
- Between 1/4/12 and February 11, 2012 Attorney Richards files a series of discovery motions.
- Attorney Richards files a notice of indigency on behalf of defendant Stewart, declaring that his client's funds are "depleted," and requests appointment as a Rule 8 public defender to defend.
- Deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Allred, a non-prosecutor who oversees the county's contracts for public defenders (and yet also works for the same Weber County Attorney's office which employs the prosecution team), tells Judge Hyde, the 2d District Court Judge assigned to this case, that "We will not be offering a contract to Mr. Richards." Notably, no explanation is offered by Mr. Allred in re why The Weber County Attorney's Office would like to suddenly "boot" the heretore defense attorney (Richards) in this case.
- Judge Hyde appoints a couple of "nobodies," Ryan Bushell and William Albright, to defend Stewart, despite the fact that Attorney Richards is URCP Rule 8 qualified and regularly serves as a public defender in Weber County public defender cases.
- Somebody (Mr. Gurrister's story doesn't tell us "who") asks Attorney Richards to withdraw from the case.
"Randy [Richards] made a comment several years ago about how he is against the death penalty and is going to do all in his power to make it expensive for the county ... the county was steamed about that," said one official close to the proceedings. The comment was reported in the media, he said, and made relations hostile."
"The same prosecutors and Richards butted heads over Riqo Perea and Jacob Ethridge, from 2007 through 2010, both potential death penalty cases where Richards strung things out with voluminous motions."
"Perea and Ethridge were both accused of double homicide, and the cases featured motions from Richards for a year or more before trial. Prosecutors eventually dropped the execution option without comment for both, in Perea's case on the eve of trial."
"Smith and Richard were law partners before Smith became county attorney."
Read between the lines, folks.
What should be obvious here is that there's been some kind of underlying beef simmering between Weber County Attorney Dee Smith's office and Ogden's possibly most zealous and successful criminal defense attorney (Randy Richards), which raises some all-to-obvious questions:
Has the Weber County Attorney's Office used its misguided power to appoint "prosecution friendly" public defender defense counsel in this case? Is Dee Smith still reeling from attorney Randy Richards' successes in the Riqo Perea and Jacob Ethridge cases? Is the deck already stacked? Has the prosecutor leaked the incriminating "facts" to the media and yet refused to let the defense know the exculpatory "facts"? Is there any way that Matthew Stewart will get a fair trial in Weber County? Are there unresolved issues between Dee Smith and his former private law firm which might operate to explain his "bloodthisty tactics" in this case? Did Dee Smith leave a lucrative position in his former private law firm to "serve the Weber County Community"? Or was he just another lawyer who tuned to the public sector for steady, well paid employment, "when he couldn't quite 'cut it' in private practice as a private attorney"? Is attorney Richards far too effective to be appointed to battle Dee Smith's "weak" prosecution drones? Is Dee Smith promoting his career, rather than seeking a true "just" outcome in this matter?
So many questions... so few answers.
Inquiring minds need to know.