Stephen McDaniel's Lawyer to Challenge Grand-Jury Makeup in Giddings Case

8:08 PM, Jan 25, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Stephen McDaniel's Lawyer to Challenge Grand-Jury Makeup in Giddings Case

Video: Stephen McDaniel Appears in Court

Video: Former District Attorney Discusses Death Penalty Cases

  • Stephen McDaniel at Jan. 25 first proceeding hearing
  • Stephen McDaniel at Jan. 25 first proceeding hearing
  • Stephen McDaniel at Jan. 25 first proceeding hearing
    

Stephen McDaniel's lawyer told a judge that he plans to challenge the grand-jury composition in the death-penalty case against his client, the Mercer law grad accused of killing his classmate Lauren Giddings.

Defense lawyer Floyd Buford did not immediately explain.

He also told a judge there will be "multiple issues raised" including search and seizure, his client's right to remain silent, right to counsel in a timely way and electronic surveillance.

He would not comment after the hearing to explain.

McDaniel's first-proceeding hearing got under way just after 10 a.m. It ended around 10:40.

Unlike at previous court hearings, McDaniel was not in an orange jail inmate jumpsuit. He was in business dress: a three-piece gray suit with maroon-striped tie. 

The hearing began with Judge Phillip Brown reading the indictment against McDaniel. He is charged "with having committed the offense of murder... between 26 of June and 30 of June... exact date being unknown to the grand jury. including decapitation of said victim with instrument unknown to the grand jury..."

Brown asked Buford and McDaniel's second attorney, Franklin Hogue about their background for handling the case. He asked, for example, if each of them have been lead or co-chair in at least one death penalty trial. They both answered yes.

Bibb County District Attorney Winters handed the judge his official notice of their intent to seek the death penalty.

Buford then advised the judge that he plans to challenge the composition of the grand jury that indicted McDaniel. He must file that motion within two weeks.

He added that there will be "multiple issues raised" including
search and seizure, right to remain silent, right to counsel in a timely way and electronic surveillance issues.

Judge Brown asked if there were "any issues" regarding the defendant's competency.

Buford responded, "Let me have a minute with that, your honor." But Brown said, "No sir, not at this point.

The lawyers reviewed a list of issues and rights that McDaniel must understand, for example, double jeopardy, right to a speedy trial, right to get independent mental evaluation.

Buford said he also file a conflict-of-interest motion against Winters and four other people in his office. He said that will cover a separate issue from the conflict motion rejected by another judge last summer.

Winters rolled his eyes when Buford raised the conflict issue again.

Last summer, Buford argued unsuccessfully that the Bibb County DA's office could not prosecute McDaniel fairly because he had worked as an intern there. Winters said there was no conflict and they could handle the case fairly.

They also set a Feb. 7 arraignment date for McDaniel.

 

 

 

 

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