7/09/09 – TG: Prosecutors say Alamo defense can’t question law officers

Texarkana Gazette
July 9, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Prosecutors say Alamo defense can’t question law officers

Motions filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Arkansas attorney general ask a federal judge to deny a request from Tony Alamo Christian Ministries to take the depositions of an FBI agent and Arkansas State Police sergeant.

Earlier this week the ministry’s attorney, Phillip Kuhn of Florida, served subpoenas on the lawmen asking them also to produce notes, recordings and other documents associated with the criminal investigation of Tony Alamo on sex abuse charges.

Prosecutors and the attorney general argue the subpoenas are flawed and that the law doesn’t permit the depositions.

The civil suit Kuhn filed on behalf of the ministry and two fathers with children in foster care accuses administrators with the state’s child welfare agency of using a child abuse investigation to disband the controversial church.

The subpoena for FBI Special Agent Randal Harris required him to submit to a deposition Thursday. Sgt. John Bishop’s subpoena scheduled him to answer questions Friday.

Alamo, whose real name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, goes to trial Monday in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas. He is in a downtown Texarkana jail.

In addition to giving Harris and Bishop too little notice, the requests can’t be honored because federal and state statutes prevent law enforcement officers from discussing a pending criminal case, the motions argued.

The subpoenas also contained multiple errors and references to outdated law, the motions state.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Plumlee said the laws preventing such disclosures by investigators are designed to benefit all parties involved and to protect the integrity of a criminal proceeding.

Kuhn said he will not serve Harris and Bishop with corrected subpoenas until after Alamo’s trial has concluded.

U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes has set aside two weeks for the criminal trial.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.