MARTINSBURG – Federal Judge John Preston Bailey is expected to rule soon on a motion filed by Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley that would delay his trial, currently set to take place in two weeks, until the spring of next year.
Shirley is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of destruction, alteration of falsification or official records in a federal investigation for allegedly beating Mark Daniel Haines, who is imprisoned for bank robbery, and altering a use of force report to cover it up. If convicted on both counts, he could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
In his motion, Shirley’s lead defense counsel Kevin Mills said three of four disks containing digital copies of evidence to be used against him at trial were blank when they were provided to the defense team. He argued that lawyers and investigators need time to analyze each piece of evidence in order to develop an adequate defense. He further points out that the prosecution built its case over the course of an 18-month investigation, and argued that Shirley needs a comparable amount of time in which to build a defense. The disks include photographs, videos, documents and radio transmissions. Mills said prosecutors have since provided valid copies.
Mills says he has contacted assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Camiletti, the lead prosecutor, and that Camiletti agreed that next spring would be a fair time for the jury trial to begin.
Judges often grant motions for continuance filed by defendants because the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial is theirs, not the state’s. When defendants waive that right, as Shirley has, in order to obtain more time to build a defense strategy, judges will often allow the trial date to be pushed farther down the road – though not always as far as defendants want.