2/14/2013 9:55:00 PM Kidnapping, murder trial likely delayed until 2014
Judge rules on more than a dozen motions in Wiesnerís case
In January, Mackey heard oral arguments on an array of defense motions, all of which he took under advisement. In a written ruling issued Friday, he issued his responses to all of the motions.
The motions and their results:
Death penalty issues: The defense argued that the death penalty is unconstitutional because it is "cruel and unusual" punishment and can't be applied. Denied.
Preclude the death penalty: Even if it is allowed, Wiesner is not subject to it because he did not intend to kill Long. Denied.
Preclude the death penalty as a sentencing option: Another constitutional argument. Denied.
Dismiss premeditated murder because law is vague: Contends that a case used as a precedent was wrongly decided. Denied.
Juror rights: Argued that the jury should be specially informed of its rights above the usual jury instructions. Denied.
Jury questionnaire: Asked for a written form for potential jurors to answer questions regarding the case to assist in voir dire. Granted, but it will not be mailed in advance as the defense requested.
Videotape jury selection process: Argued that videotaping would make potential jurors' "demeanor and credibility' part of the record. Denied.
Disclosure of state's jury selection data: Claimed that state's database of potential jurors should be made available to the defense. Denied.
Preclude the state from asking questions related to any aggravator not related to this trial: Mackey said this motion was "not sufficiently specific." Denied.
Jury tour of crime scene: Defense wanted to show Long's Seligman house to jurors in person. Denied.
Vocabulary: Argument was that standard terminology like "guilt phase" of the trial, "defendant," and "victim" would prejudice the jury. Denied.
Victim impact evidence: Argued that victims (Long's family) should be allowed to make statements only after a jury verdict. Denied.
Preclude state from arguing sexual assault without evidence of lack of consent: Contended that autopsy evidence alone cannot show consent or the lack of it. Mackey said the motion was "premature." Denied.
Order to turn over state's complete file: Asked that prosecutors give defense complete file and then seal it in case the file is needed for appeal. Denied.
Order to give the defense a complete list of witnesses and exhibits it will use. Partially granted, with specific deadline dates.
PRESCOTT - A judge has ruled against the defense in the Robert Wiesner murder case on almost all of 15 motions it presented last month. On Monday, the parties discussed a trial schedule that might not start until 2014 in the death penalty case.
Wiesner, 54, of Scottsdale, is accused in the shooting death of Lorraine Long in a Seligman house she owned on Aug. 6, 2010. A Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman said Wiesner called 911 at 4:30 a.m. to report a shooting. When deputies arrived, they found Long dead and Wiesner with a minor gunshot wound.
Detectives said they believe an argument started between Wiesner and Long as they drove from Phoenix to Seligman. They said Long had an order of protection that should have restricted Wiesner from contacting her.
The indictment suggests that Wiesner kidnapped Long from her Scottsdale home and drove her to Seligman before killing her.
The Yavapai County Attorney's Office is pursuing the death penalty because it is alleging that aggravating factors, specifically "especially cruel, heinous, and depraved" behavior, as well as kidnapping and sexual assault, were a part of Wiesner's alleged crime.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge David L. Mackey tried to set a trial date, but the attorneys were not able to reach a consensus.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Dennis McGrane said he wanted to see the trial proceed, "the sooner, the better," with jury selection in September and trial in October.
However, defense attorney William Feldhacker said that would be "too early" because his mitigation expert, Tyrone Mayberry, wouldn't have enough time to prepare, especially because he is dealing with a major case in Maricopa County.
Feldhacker suggested a late January or early February trial, which might mean it would end in April 2014.
Mackey didn't like that plan and wanted to know how Mayberry could expedite the process.
"I am not sure that faster is better," Feldhacker said, noting that he didn't "want to rush."
Mackey told him to find out exactly how long Mayberry would need and how the other trial would affect his schedule.