Saturday, May 17, 2008

Separate Trials for Cuadra, Kerekes Requested

According to the Times Leader - Joseph Kerekes’ tendency to talk hasn’t only created problems for himself, attorneys said.

Kerekes has also made statements implicating Harlow Cuadra in the death of gay porn producer Bryan Kocis.

And that’s created the need for Kerekes and Cuadra to have separate trials – instead of one joint trial – on criminal charges in Kocis’ death, Cuadra’s attorneys said.

The request for separate trials came Friday as one of several pre-trial motions made by Cuadra’s attorneys.

Cuadra’s attorneys, Paul Galante, Mike Senape, and Steve Menn, said separate trials are required for several reasons. One of them is because of Kerekes’ statements implicating Cuadra, they said.

Prosecutors could present Kerekes’ statements at his trial.

But that means Cuadra, at a joint trial for both men, would be prejudiced by the jury hearing Kerekes’ implicating statements because Cuadra’s attorneys would be unable to challenge Kerekes about them, unless he testified, the attorneys said.

That would deprive Cuadra of his constitutional right to confrontation, the attorneys say.

In other requests, the attorneys want: Cuadra’s trial moved out of Luzerne County or to have an outside jury brought in because of pre-trial publicity; photographs of the victim kept out of trial because they are inflammatory; prosecutors to be prevented from using any statements Cuadra made to police because he was questioned while in custody but never informed of his rights; recorded conversations of Cuadra at a beach kept out of trial because the interception violated the law and Cuadra’s rights; evidence seized from Cuadra’s Virginia residence and e-mail account kept out of trial because it was obtained with invalid warrants; and the charges thrown out because prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence at a preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors will respond to the motions before Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. rules on them.