Stewart's lawyer keeps on attack

Feb 16 2012 - 10:29pm

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Randy Richards, right, attorney for Matthew David Stewart, 37, left, speaks during a court appearance before Judge Noel Hyde Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012  in 2nd District Court in Ogden, Utah. Prosecutors have charged Matthew David Stewart with one count of capital murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, and marijuana cultivation after a deadly Jan. 4 shootout at his Ogden home. Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force Agent Jared Francom was killed in the shooting. Five other officers were injured. (AP Photo/Leah Hogsten)
Matthew David Stewart, 37, looks around the room during a court appearance before Judge Noel Hyde Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012  in 2nd District Court in Ogden, Utah. Prosecutors have charged Matthew David Stewart with one count of capital murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, and marijuana cultivation after a deadly Jan. 4 shootout at his Ogden home. Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force Agent Jared Francom was killed in the shooting. Five other officers were injured. (AP Photo/Leah Hogsten)
Matthew David Stewart, 37, appears before Judge Noel Hyde Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012  in 2nd District Court in Ogden, Utah. Prosecutors have charged Matthew David Stewart with one count of capital murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, and marijuana cultivation after a deadly Jan. 4 shootout at his Ogden home. Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force Agent Jared Francom was killed in the shooting. Five other officers were injured. (AP Photo/Leah Hogsten)
Randy Richards, right, attorney for Matthew David Stewart, 37, left, speaks during a court appearance before Judge Noel Hyde Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012  in 2nd District Court in Ogden, Utah. Prosecutors have charged Matthew David Stewart with one count of capital murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, and marijuana cultivation after a deadly Jan. 4 shootout at his Ogden home. Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force Agent Jared Francom was killed in the shooting. Five other officers were injured. (AP Photo/Leah Hogsten)
Matthew David Stewart, 37, looks around the room during a court appearance before Judge Noel Hyde Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012  in 2nd District Court in Ogden, Utah. Prosecutors have charged Matthew David Stewart with one count of capital murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, and marijuana cultivation after a deadly Jan. 4 shootout at his Ogden home. Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force Agent Jared Francom was killed in the shooting. Five other officers were injured. (AP Photo/Leah Hogsten)
Matthew David Stewart, 37, appears before Judge Noel Hyde Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012  in 2nd District Court in Ogden, Utah. Prosecutors have charged Matthew David Stewart with one count of capital murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, and marijuana cultivation after a deadly Jan. 4 shootout at his Ogden home. Weber-Morgan Narcotics Task Force Agent Jared Francom was killed in the shooting. Five other officers were injured. (AP Photo/Leah Hogsten)

OGDEN -- The tension promises to continue as one of Matthew David Stewart's three attorneys has filed new motions on his own.

A gag order pending in the case is keeping comments anonymous as to Randy Richard's motions filed Tuesday, accusing prosecutors of intentionally refusing to turn over evidence in the case.

"Randy made a comment several years ago about how he is against the death penalty and is going to do all in his power to make it expensive for the county ... the county was steamed about that," said one official close to the proceedings. The comment was reported in the media, he said, and made relations hostile.

Richards also refiled a motion Tuesday, which had been dismissed last week, that implies police or prosecutors might destroy evidence.

Richards was put on paid retainer by Stewart's family shortly after the Jan. 4 shootout at Stewart's home that left Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force agent Jared Francom dead. Five other officers were injured. Stewart, shot four times, now faces the death penalty.

The same prosecutors and Richards butted heads over Riqo Perea and Jacob Ethridge, from 2007 through 2010, both potential death penalty cases where Richards strung things out with voluminous motions.

Perea and Ethridge were both accused of double homicide, and the cases featured motions from Richards for a year or more before trial. Prosecutors eventually dropped the execution option without comment for both, in Perea's case on the eve of trial.

Deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Shaw, who has taken the point so far in the courtroom debates with Richards on Stewart's case, declined comment Wednesday about Richards' latest move.

Richards also declined to comment on the motions.

Shaw's boss, County Attorney Dee Smith, would only say, "We'll file the appropriate responses."

Smith and Richard were law partners before Smith became county attorney.

But another inolved official said, "I'm sure this is just the first in a series of interesting events we will see take place in this case."

Last week two public defenders were appointed to represent Stewart. That was necessary after Richards last month filed a notice of indigency that Stewart's funds were depleted.

At the Feb. 7 hearing before 2nd District Judge Noel Hyde, Richards was asked to withdraw. He refused.

"We will not be offering a contract to Mr. Richards," Deputy Weber County Attorney Chris Allred, a non-prosecutor who oversees the county's contracts for public defenders, told Hyde.

Instead, public defenders Ryan Bushell and William Albright were signed to defend Stewart.

Hyde at the hearing also rescinded a restraining order "to prevent destruction of evidence" which he had signed a few days earlier, saying the "emergency" Richards had raised did not exist.

The order instructed the many police officers involved not to destroy their notes of the Stewart shooting investigation.

On Tuesday, Richards refiled the motion which prosecutors anonymously have called "insulting" and completely unheard of.

He also filed his third discovery motion complaining that discovery materials have not been supplied him, claiming prosecutors would release them only to Bushell and Albright.

Richards' motion claims that is a delay which may be grounds for an appeal if Stewart is convicted.

Shaw has argued in court the delay is due only to the large volume of information, taking time to compile and copy.

The motions will be aired at the next status conference, set for March 19 before Hyde.

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