OGDEN -- Jason Valdez's public defender will be hiring an expert, possibly more than one, as part of the defense for charges of kidnapping and attempted murder -- which revisits the potential conflict of interest in Weber County of having prosecutors influence the funding of defense attorneys.
Valdez is charged in the 16-hour SWAT standoff that began June 18 in an Ogden motel, an event Valdez posted about on his Facebook page throughout.
Police say Valdez shot himself in the chest after firing at officers who stormed his motel room in the Western Colony Inn to end the ordeal.
Charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer and aggravated kidnapping after he was healed enough to jail, Valdez is now forced to use a wheelchair.
After the standoff ended, comments -- mostly negative and topping 27,000 -- continued to be posted by others to Valdez's Facebook page.
Valdez's public defender, Randall Marshall, said Thursday he soon will be filing motions seeking funds from Weber County for expert evaluations of the evidence against Valdez.
Ballistics will have to be checked on the shots Valdez allegedly fired, he said.
"The if and when, the intent and how close the alleged shots came to the officers," Marshall said. "Those are the kinds of things I'm going to need experts for."
There are other issues in the case he said he needs to explore, but he wouldn't elaborate.
Marshall is philosophical about the apparent conflict of interest in the Weber County Attorney's Office having a role in deciding the funding levels of the defense attorneys the office battles in court.
The county funds indigent defense when defendants can't afford a lawyer. As the county's legal adviser, the county attorney's office makes recommendations on the viability of public defenders requesting additional funds for experts and investigators.
"In a cynical world, I understand the concern," Marshall said. "But in Weber County, it hasn't been a problem."
He noted that a judge makes the actual funding decision after the county makes a recommendation.
Others in the county attorney's office make those recommendations, not the actual prosecutors in a case, who often are asked to leave the courtroom during those discussions.
"I guess it's also an inherent conflict of interest to hire us as public defenders anyway," Marshall said. "The county pays us to get in their way."
Valdez is accused of narrowly missing two SWAT officers he fired at as they broke into his room through the wall of an adjoining room of the Western Colony Inn.
Veronica Jensen, the alleged victim in the kidnapping charge, appeared calm in photos on Facebook with her would-be captor Valdez.
She has since been jailed on drug charges after she was found in possession of methamphetamine upon her release from the motel room, a violation of her drug-court referral on her first offense, according to court records.