MARTINSBURG — Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley’s criminal defense lawyers have filed a motion to see evidence collected against him by federal prosecutors.
Shirley was indicted in June for allegedly using excessive force during the 2010 apprehension of bank robbery suspect Mark Daniel Haines following a high-speed chase and for later falsifying a police report about the incident.
The motion for early discovery, filed Monday, asks that federal prosecutors give the defense team access to a wide variety of evidence, including subpoenas used to obtain use-of-force reports, recorded phone conversations between Shirley and FBI investigators, the opinions of the prosecution’s medical and use-of-force policy experts, and contact information for witnesses to an earlier bank robbery by Haines.
Shirley faces up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts. Video of the incident has been made public and can be seen on YouTube.
Haines, who also has filed a civil suit against Shirley and a number of other law enforcement officers, was convicted in the robbery attempt and is incarcerated at a federal penitentiary in Cumberland, Md.
Shirley’s lawyers are asking prosecutors to give them all FBI notes and memoranda from the investigation leading up to his indictment. They maintain such information “would serve to illuminate the reason that the FBI focused its investigation on Sheriff Shirley, despite the fact that the force used by other officers against Mark Haines was clearly greater than the force used by Sheriff Shirley.”
In the motion, Shirley’s attorneys suggest the investigation against him was politically motivated — it indicates his probation officer has questioned if he continues to carry a gun.
“Sheriff Shirley has an interest in discovering the identity of the persons that have been providing false information about him in an attempt to get his pretrial release revoked,” the motion reads. “Due to the recently contested election, Sheriff Shirley has made many political enemies who will seemingly stop at nothing, including spreading false information about him, to ensure that he loses his position as Sheriff.”
Shirley was ordered to not carry a firearm during his pre-trial release in June.
Shirley’s attorneys are also asking prosecutors to show where in Jefferson County sheriff’s rules that he is required to file a use of force report at all, and to reveal any deals that they entered into with Haines in return for his testimony – so-called Giglio material – that could be used to impeach his credibility as a witness.
The motion, which also seeks grand jury testimony offered by other police officers at the arrest, alleges that one or more jailhouse informants claim Haines says he committed a number of area robberies before being arrested and sustained injuries during them.
The motion also alleges Haines made false allegations that he was sexually assaulted by a guard while in Eastern Regional Jail and that Haines admitted to being “high on cocaine” at the time of his arrest.
The claims are made with the legal proviso “on information or belief,” which indicates the defense team does not have firsthand knowledge of the alleged facts.