SUBLETTE COUNTY – A Pinedale man preparing for his July 19 jury trial again asks a judge to order the prosecution to provide “digital discovery” transcripts of its audio-visual evidence against him.
John E. Handy was arrested on Jan. 27 and charged with two felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance, THC, one felony count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, records show.
He was investigated after several “known but not identified sources” told Sublette County detectives in 2019 and 2020 he allegedly bought THC wax dabs in Colorado to bring back and sell in Sublette County, according to court records.
Handy pleaded not guilty in 9th District Court, where Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson asked Judge Marv Tyler to dismiss the third charge, which he did.
On Feb. 12, Crosson asked the judge to allow an expert witness to testify at trial via videoconference, which he said was a suitable option due to travel and COVID concerns. Public defender Rachel Weksler objected, saying Handy wanted his right to confront trial witnesses in person and watch their nonverbal expressions.
Judge Tyler later ruled in Handy’s favor, saying Crosson’s motion did not sufficiently address important public policies to allow a witness to appear by video.
Weksler and co-counsel Elisabeth Trefonas asked Crosson at the Feb. 12 hearing to provide printed transcripts so Handy could study them in jail on his own time. They said neither the jail nor the public defender program could provide “clean computers” for Handy “to assist in his own defense.”
Crosson declined to provide transcripts; Judge Tyler said he could not order Handy’s “unfettered” access to a computer and denied the defense motion, saying he would review it later if needed.
Wekler’s second motion, filed April 9, says Handy can’t view the provided USB drives “except when his counsel requests permission to bring in a laptop computer to the Sublette County Detention Center for the purpose of viewing the digital discovery with him.”
The visits last an hour or two but Handy can’t review discovery when she leaves, it says. Judge Tyler would order Crosson to make the transcripts available “as it has access to more resources than the public defender’s office.”