Mistrial declared

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 1999

Circuit Court Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders ordered a mistrial Wednesday in the sexual battery trial of an Adams County Jail inmate because the victim’s hospital records were not available.

The defendant, Louis McDonald, is charged with assaulting a 28-year-old man last March while were both incarcerated at the jail.

Defense Attorney Scott Pintard requested a mistrial after learning that the district attorney’s office did not provide copies of the victim’s medical records prior to trial.

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&uot;Where are they?&uot; Pintard said. &uot;And why did we not find out about the records until today?&uot;

During court Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney David Hall said McDonald assaulted the victim, humiliated him physically and forcing him to perform oral sex, while Pintard argued that the offenses never took place.

The victim, the only witness to take the stand prior to the mistrial, spoke briefly about the abuse.

&uot;(McDonald) made my life a living hell for those hours on March 17,&uot; he said.

His injuries required a hospital visit and several x-rays, he added.

Hall said he also did not know about the medical records until the victim began testifying.

&uot;There was nothing in our file that indicated that,&uot;&160;said Hall, who did not interview the victim before Wednesday. &uot;I was as shocked as everybody in the courtroom.&uot;

Information from the sheriff’s department did not include the records, Hall said.

It is standard for the state to provide all necessary records to a defendant’s attorney, said Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell.

Sanders debated filing sanctions against the district attorney’s office before deciding the mistake was not their fault. But she also asked why the district attorney’s office did not take the time to adequately question the victim. &uot;The D.A’s office should have interviewed (the victim) prior to today,&uot; she said.

Sheriff Tommy Ferrell also did not understand why the attorneys did not get copies of the medical records. &uot;We did a medical review,&uot; Ferrell said. (There was) just a mistake made.&uot;

Although the alleged assault occurred during a time when some cell locks at the jail were damaged, Ferrell said he could not be certain if that played a factor in the assault.

&uot;I don’t know if he was in that area. I don’t know what his status was,&uot; Ferrell said.

The damaged locks allowed some inmates to get out of their individual cells and harass other inmates.