Judge: No Delay In Trial For Former TCSO Reserve Deputy Bob Bates
TULSA, Oklahoma - A judge denied the prosecution's request to delay the manslaughter trial of former Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Bob Bates.
The trial is set to start on April 18, 2016.
Bates is charged with manslaughter for shooting Eric Harris last year during an undercover operation.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler asked for the delay because his office just received more than 2,000 pages of defense discovery materials.
On Tuesday, the judge denied that request. The judge also ruled the defense cannot call Eric Harris' brother, Andre, to try to show Andre's involvement in Eric Harris's drug trade.
Here are the issues the judge decided on Tuesday:
-- Judge says defense attorneys can call medical experts who can testify about Harris' heart health and meth use and how that could've contributed to his death.
-- DA wanted to tell jury Bates had successfully pulled his taser on operations in the months before the Harris shooting but the judge said it wouldn't be allowed since both sides agree this was a mistake, and the issue is whether his actions show culpable negligence.
-- Defense wanted to call the Assistant DA who helped with the briefing before the takedown who told the team, including Bates, about Harris' criminal history and how dangerous he was. The judge said no, that others could testify to the same information.
-- Defense wants to call an expert who can testify about "weapon confusion" and how that happens to officers of the law and members of the military in some cases. Judge agreed.
-- DA didn't want the defense to be able to call a medical expert to say the medical treatment Harris received after he was shot contributed to Harris' death. Judge will not allow that.
-- The DA didn't want a 232-page book on Harris' criminal history (created by the defense team) to be shown to the jury. The judge agreed and said the defense could talk about Harris' criminal history but not use the book as an exhibit.
-- The defense didn't want the DA to refer to Eric Harris as a "victim" during the trial. The judge said it was okay for them to do so.
-- The DA didn't want Bates' attorneys to call him "Bob" during the trial and the judge agreed, saying he should be referred to as Mr. Bates.
-- The DA didn't want witnesses to be able to talk about the civil lawsuits that have been filed in connection to this case. The judge agreed, except if the defense might need to to do so to show a witness could have a bias in his or her testimony, if he or she stands to make a lot of money.
-- The defense wanted to call Eric Harris' brother, Andre, as a witness to show his possible involvement in Eric Harris' drug trade. The judge said no, because that information could come into evidence in other ways.
-- The defense wanted to show the jury pictures of Bob Bates and his family. The judge said no.
-- The defense did not want the DA to show a picture of Eric Harris. The DA said it did not intend to.
-- The defense wanted the jury to see a pamphlet put out by the maker of the taser that was carried by Bates to show the size and weight of it. The judge said no pamphlet. Same ruling for pamphlet of the gun that was used by Bates.
-- DA didn't want defense to use a replica gun they bought for testing with their experts. Defense said they never intended to use it as evidence, it was only for their in-house use, since they are not allowed to touch or see the real gun, since it remains sealed in evidence.
-- Defense wants jury to see records that show Bob Bates paid nearly $15,000 for private shooting time at a local range. The DA argued it wasn't relevant. Judge will rule on that later.
--Defense wanted to call an expert to explain to the jury how the bullet that hit Harris did go through Harris, didn't even crack his rib and wasn't deformed in any way. The judge said no, because that expert was submitted after the deadline.
-- Both sides said they would agree on which post mortem photographs of Harris would be allowed to be shown to the jury.
-- Defense didn't want Bates' interview with the Today show used in the case. The judge said it was out there, so it's fair game if DA wants to use it.
-- Defense didn't want deputies to give opinions on whether what Bates did was negligent. Judge said they can give opinions but not as experts.
-- Defense didn't want any witnesses to reference whether TCSO policy was violated. The DA said it would not be presenting that evidence.
-- Defense wanted no mention of grand jury. Judge agreed no findings of the grand jury would be allowed, but, if a witness was asked if he or she testified before and the answer was yes, at the grand jury, that would be allowed.
-- Defense didn't want the 2009 internal affairs report of Bates allowed in front of the jury. The DA said it was not using it because it was so many years ago. Judge said he would rule later if the report could be used only on cross examination.
-- Defense wanted to show the jury a video taken a few days before Harris' death that shows Harris selling drugs to an undercover officer. DA argued the video wasn't necessary because the officer could testify about the drug deal. Judge said it could be shown.
-- Defense asked that a few lines of audio on the arrest/shooting videotape be edited out, especially the line where the officer responds to Harris saying he can't breathe, with "F--- your breath." Defense argues Bates did not say that and had nothing to do with that, but, it was so inflammatory it would prejudice the jury. The DA argued the video is what it is and should be allowed and the officers only said that because some of them didn't yet realize Harris had been shot. The judge will rule on this later.
-- Both sides agreed to the questions on the questionnaire that will be given to the potential jurors on Monday. Jurors will be called Monday at 1:30 p.m.