Union Parish Sheriff Deputy Chris Harpin’s trial date continued from March 25 to October 28 awaiting LSP Trooper York’s fate in Louisiana Supreme Court and his own trial set for September 24.

Attorney J. Michael Small, who is representing Louisiana State Police (LSP) Trooper Kory York in the case of Ronald Greene, is appealing to the Louisiana Supreme Court the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ denial of his Motion to Quash the charges against York.

As we concluded our most-recent feature on LSP Lt. John Clary and the dismissed bogus indictment against him for “concealing his body-worn camera for almost two years,” we had this to say entailing the status of LSP Trooper Kory York:

Also, entailing York, on January 31, 2024 the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals Denied his Appeal of Judge Rogers’ Denial of his Motion to Quash.  Interestingly enough, it took the Second Circuit 2-1/2 months to issue the Denial and provide zilch in the way of explaining why the Writ was Denied.  We’ll see if that ends up being the final word on the matter; however, as we see it as a 100 percent certainty that York’s attorney, J. Michael Small, appeals that “blank denial” of the Second Circuit on to the Louisiana State Supreme Court.

Union Parish Sheriff Deputy Chris Harpin, who is the lone remaining defendant other than York in the Greene matter, was supposed to have his trial commence on March 25, 2024; however, his attorney, Eugene P. Circado, Jr., along with Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland, on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, filed this Joint Motion to Continue the Trial Until October 28, 2024.  Here’s the rationale provided for the continuance:

This matter is scheduled for trial on March 25, 2024. The parties wish to continue the trial date as (a) the State desires to try codefendant Cory York prior to Chris Harpin, (b) Cory York’s case is not currently in a posture for trial due to writ applications pending with the Louisiana Supreme Court which could be dispositive of his case, and (c) defense counsel for Harpin has relied upon the State’s representations relative to trying the York case first in delaying the expense of preparing for trial.

Undersigned defense counsel does hereby specifically waive the presence of his client for purposes of this motion, consents to the signing of the accompanying order in open court or in chambers, and moves that this matter be set for pretrial hearings at 10 a.m. on October 25 2024, and jury trial on October 28, 2024.

We will point out that we have seen only one subpoena issued pertaining to the Harpin trial, and it is this subpoena by Harpin seeking the testimony of FBI Special Agent Glenn “Jeff” Methvin.  Our best assessment of that subpoena harkens us back to December of 2021 when a Federal Grand Jury was empaneled entailing any possible indictments against anyone on the scene on May 10, 2019, the day of Greene’s in-custody death.

We received what we deem to be reliable reports way back then that the Federal Grand Jury struggled mightily with ascertaining whether pepper spray was used in Greene’s arrest.  That is the charge pending against Harpin, and our best assessment of Methvin’s role as a defense witness will be to cast doubt on whether pepper spray was in fact used.

As everyone may recall, former LSP Sergeant Albert Paxton, at the 4:46 – 4:50 mark of this March 22, 2022 testimony of Paxton before the House Greene Committee, stated:  “I think, based on the evidence, that they’re putting OC spray in his face.”

This is why we’ve emphasized that Paxton is likely to be a star witness for the prosecution; however, we’ve also emphasized that we, “wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of John Belton (Hugo Holland) when it comes time for cross-examination.”

We are not going to extensively rehash why we believe that Paxton’s credibility is going to be problematic for the prosecution, but we believe it’s a horrendously-bad look that Paxton changed his testimony within mere minutes on the just-linked video regarding when he first learned of the Clary body-cam video.  His testimony changed from learning of the video on or around October 2, 2020 (corroborated by LSP’s then Use-of-Force Expert, Scott Davis, who we’d anticipate being another prosecution witness), to April 9, 2021.

A Supplemental Report was then drafted by Paxton and electronically signed by him on May 6, 2021 at 2:39 p.m.  That same Supplemental Report was then subsequently signed by Paxton’s then-supervisor, Johnny Scott Brown, a mere three minutes later at 2:42 p.m.

That report points the finger of blame entailing the Clary video (which, in reality had never been concealed by Clary at all) directly at Clary.

The report wound up in the hands of the media, and voila, the whole Clary disaster took full flight 18 days later, on May 24, 2021.  It is something that LSP should absolutely and without question hold its collective head in utter shame over, and that is why we’ve openly called for a full-blown LSP investigation into just what happened in the months of April and May of 2021 regarding the Greene matter.

At this point, our best guess is that the “investigation” will transpire in open court as we firmly expect a number of very probing questions will be posed by all three defense attorneys (T. Taylor Townsend, another prominent lawyer representing York, is often overshadowed by Small, but we suspect there will be some legal muscle flexed by him during York’s trial as well).

Now, regarding our quote above regarding York and his pending appeal before the Louisiana Supreme Court, we can only surmise that a response is expected back from the Court in time for a September 23, 2024 York trial commencement.

We didn’t hesitate to speculate on how the Second Circuit Court of Appeals would rule on York’s Quash Motion (that it would be granted), so we’re not going to become timid at this stage of the game.

It’s our opinion that the Louisiana Supreme Court is going to grant the Motion to Quash.

Why?  Because whatever the Supreme Court rules is going to set case law on the matter and, if the Writ is denied, we believe it’s going to have a very chilling effect on law enforcement officers who are called into Internal Affairs for interviews!

After all, when an officer is told, “nothing you say in this interview can be used against you in a criminal prosecution,” and then actual audio of the interview itself as well as the report derived in part from the interview are then turned right over to the prosecution, to us, at least, that is a big-time problem!

The prosecution calls it a “mistake” and admits that it never should have happened.  The problem, at least in our eyes, in taking a no-harm-no-foul approach is that law enforcement officers across Louisiana will likely take heed of what happened in this matter, and they are much more likely to clam up completely without an attorney present if there is even the most infinitesimal chance that a criminal charge may arise from their words uttered during the interview.

In other words, the Louisiana Supreme Court’s ruling on this matter is going to extend far beyond Kory York in the Ronald Greene criminal case, and we believe the prospective adverse impact on future law enforcement officers’ willingness to cooperate in such internal affairs investigations is simply too great to deny the Motion to Quash.

That’s our thoughts for what they may be worth.

At any rate, irrespective of whether we’re right on the Supreme Court’s ruling on York’s Motion to Quash, it appears things are very likely to get very interesting in the Ronald Greene matter once football season arrives this year!

2 thoughts on “Union Parish Sheriff Deputy Chris Harpin’s trial date continued from March 25 to October 28 awaiting LSP Trooper York’s fate in Louisiana Supreme Court and his own trial set for September 24.”

  1. Let’s cut straight to the chase…AD Hugo Holland needs to drop both the York and Harpin cases and allow the Greene family to move forward with a civil lawsuit. We have already seen the complete abuse of power when Belton indicted Clary for doing absolutely nothing!! Burns has already called for an investigation as to how the Clary indictment happened, and I completely agree with him. If both remaining cases are tried in front of a reasonable and fair jury, these cases are dead on arrival. It is just ridiculous how prosecutors today contort the law to meet political ends.

    With respect to Small’s appeal, I’m not convinced he will win. Burns is correct that a mistake was made, but the question the court will have to answer is the mistake material enough to throw out the entire case. So far, the courts have said no, and I tend to agree with them. The overwhelming evidence in the case is the videos. The concern about case law slices both directions. Having case law where materiality is irrelevant would be problematic as well.

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