Judge grants request for three-day trialon claim of brutality
Steven Horn, the man who was zapped with a Taser by a Carbondale police officer during a routine traffic stop in August, will get his three days in court in February, 2005, when he will argue that the officer overreacted and is guilty of “police brutality.”Horn’s attorney, Richard Dally, in an apparent effort to focus at least part of Horn’s defense on the officer who shot him with the Taser, is hoping to get access to that officer’s record with the department in one of the defense “motions for discovery” on file with the municipal court.Municipal Judge John Collins has yet to rule on that and other motions for discovery, contrary to a story published in the Dec. 9 edition of the Valley Journal. A document placed in the court file stating that the judge granted certain discovery motions but denied others, has not been reviewed or signed by the judge, but was mistaken by a reporter for a signed order.Collins has granted Horn’s request, however, for an unprecedented three-day, daytime trial on charges that he ran a stop sign, refused to follow an officer’s instructions when stopped, and resisted arrest.The officer, José Munoz, has claimed that Horn was acting erratically and aggressively, and that Munoz’s fear for his own safety justified the use of the Taser.According to a motion Dally filed, “The defendant was shot with a police Taser gun six times during the course of his arrest and will assert defenses of self-defense, over zealousness, and police brutality.”The two attorneys in the case have been battling over how much information and documentation Dally and Horn are entitled to.Horn has asked for copies of all witness statements that will be used by the prosecution; all police reports and other documents related to the allegations against him; any audio tapes or photographs made by police in connection with the case; all disciplinary and personnel files concerning Carbondale Police Officer José Munoz, “including medical and psychological evaluations,” and records of any verbal or written complaints about Officer Munoz; and any information or records regarding the training Munoz has undergone in service to the town. Horn also has asked to review a variety of records, purchase documents and other information related to the police department’s use of stun guns and Tasers. Prosecutor Sherry Caloia has objected to many of Dally’s “discovery requests,” including the request for personnel records and any records of complaints against Munoz by citizens or disciplinary actions against him by the department; and information about the department’s policies and documentation regarding the use of Tasers.The trial will be heard by a jury of six starting on Feb. 23, 2005, at Carbondale Town Hall.The trial will be heard by a jury of six starting on Feb. 23, 2005, at Carbondale Town Hall.
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