Taser victim requests jury trial
Steven Horn, the Carbondale man recently shocked by a Carbondale cop wielding a Taser, has made the unusual request that his upcoming trial take place during the daytime rather than the customary nighttime municipal court schedule.In motions filed by his attorney, Richard Dally, Horn has asked that the trial be scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on whatever day is deemed “convenient for all concerned, and to continue as necessary during daytime hours.”Municipal court normally takes place in the evening, both for hearings and trials to the court (before a judge, with no jury), and officials have indicated they do not recall the last time Carbondale held a jury trial in municipal court.In his motion, Dally has requested a trial by six jurors, and has asked Judge John C. Collins to round up 50 prospective jurors, known as an “expanded array,” because of the controversial nature of the case.In his motion, Dally states that “there has been extensive publicity of this case, much of it generated by the Town of Carbondale and its police department and its own employees.”Dally also has indicated that he expects there to be “at least 12 witnesses in this case,” noting that “the time of jury selection and trial may be expected to exceed eight hours. To hold this trial during the court’s normally scheduled event sessions, which would likely extend into late and even early morning hours, would be an extreme burden upon the court, witnesses, police witnesses, defendant and counsel.”Such a burden, Dally argued, “would result in an abridgment of defendant’s basis constitutional right to trial by jury.”Police have charged Horn with one count each of running a stop sign, resisting arrest and failing to obey an officer’s orders, over an Aug. 6 incident involving Officer Munoz. Munoz allegedly saw Horn roll through a stop sign onto Fourth Street and heading north toward Main Street, in a borrowed pickup truck carrying straw bales destined for use in a town-sponsored street dance.Munoz reported that he turned on the overhead lights of his squad car but Horn did not stop right away, instead continuing to a small diagonal parking area at the intersection of Fourth and Main. Horn maintains he did not see the police car following him because his rearward vision was blocked by the straw bales.Once the truck was parked, all agree, while Horn’s passengers began unloading the straw bales, Horn got out of the truck and walked toward the squad car to talk with Munoz.The officer, however, ordered Horn to get back in the pickup. When Horn kept approaching, Munoz, saying he felt Horn was being “irrational” and “aggressive,” used his “Taser” on Horn. A Taser, which delivers an electrical charge that incapacitates its recipient, is known as a “less lethal” method for disabling a suspect, when use of a firearm is not warranted.Horn has formally submitted a letter announcing his intention to file a $250,000 claim against the town arising from the incident.The town, meanwhile, is pursuing charges that could land Horn in jail for a year and saddled with a $100,000 fine if convicted on all counts and sentenced to the maximum for each conviction.The trial is expected to take place before the end of the year.
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