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Motions deferred to trial judge in recent child molestation case
by Debbie Lurie-Smith
Apr 18, 2013 | 2622 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A majority of the pretrial motions brought by defense attorney Laura Hogue in Jones County Superior Court last week were deferred to the judge who will preside over the trial.

Clifford James Wheat, 26, was indicted in February on five charges of child molestation and two counts aggravated child molestation. He was arrested Jan. 8 and has remained in custody.

Superior Court Judge James Cline heard a demur motion from Hogue and listened to her request to obtain a copy of all the evidence possessed by the state, but all other motions were left to be heard by Chief Superior Court Judge William Prior, who will preside over the trial.

“I do not want to bind another judge with my rulings,” Cline stated. “I don’t like to be bound by the rulings of other judges because sometimes I would not have ruled that way.”

Wheat attempted to get out on bond Jan. 31 because of a chronic ear infection, but that request was denied. Superior Court Judge Trent Brown ruled that the defendant was a flight risk and a risk to intimidate witnesses.

In the demur hearing, which is a legal term for objection, Hogue took exception to the time frame of the indictment. She said the law requires that the indictment reflect the time the crime occurred.

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