Judge denies move in Presho man’s trialFederal gun case will stay in Pierre; kidnapping case on hold.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
PRESHO -- A federal judge has rejected a Presho man’s request to move his trial from Pierre to Aberdeen.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange denied a motion by 36-year-old Clint Brown and his attorney Edward Albright to move Brown’s trial for allegedly being a felon and drug user in possession of a firearm. Brown was indicted on the charge last December. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to begin next month.
In their motion, Brown and his attorney claimed pretrial publicity of the case would “unfairly prejudice” Brown’s right to a fair trial. Because Brown is from Presho and has a prior conviction in Lyman County, which is just south of Pierre, he will most likely be known to “several prospective jurors, thereby causing difficulty in obtaining a fair and impartial jury,” court documents say.
Federal prosecutors resisted the motion.
Lange found the pretrial publicity of Brown’s case, “much of which is from areas outside of the Central Division of the District of South Dakota,” was not extensive enough to hurt Brown’s right to a fair trial and impartial jury, court documents say.
Lange does not that “there may be some notoriety about the case in Lyman County,” but says he intends to question those jurors “about what, if anything, they have heard about the case,” court documents state.
Brown faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Brown is alleged to have been in possession of a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and a Tarus .22-caliber rifle, both of which were recovered as a result of three search warrants issued to law enforcement between Aug. 17 and Aug. 22. Brown’s trailer house in Presho and two pickups parked outside were searched.
Brown has also been indicted by a Lyman County grand jury for the same series of events that led to the federal charges.
Brown is accused of kidnapping his 10-year-old daughter Aug. 17, then choking her, firing a gun near her head and striking her with the butt of a gun. He was also charged for an incident on Aug. 15, his daughter’s birthday, when he allegedly shot her dog in front of her.
Brown was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana at the time of the incidents.
Brown’s kidnapping and abuse case in Lyman County is on hold while his federal case proceeds.