Circuit court docket addresses instances forward of upcoming trials

News Photo by Julie Riddle
Defendant Blaine Crumley on Monday listens to attorney Peter Samouris discuss evidentiary details for Crumley’s upcoming trial in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court.

ALPENA — With busy months of catching up on pandemic-delayed trials ahead, Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court addressed a number of cases headed for jury trial during a hearing day on Monday.

∫ Trenton Agar, 27, will need at least one trial as he faces charges of drug possession, assault, and sexual assault of a minor, his attorney said. The charges stem from separate incidents and probably can’t be joined to be addressed in one trial, Judge Benjamin Bolser said. Agar is scheduled for jury trial beginning March 23.

∫ If Agar reaches a plea agreement before that date, the slot goes to Joel James, of Lachine. James, who has already been before two Alpena County juries, was sent back to the 26th Circuit Court by the Michigan Court of Appeals to try James one more time on a charge on which both juries were deadlocked. Defense attorneys suggested they intend to file at least one more motion closer to the date of the trial.

∫ James Cooper, 45, has been waiting for a trial in his drug possession case for nearly a year after he rejected a plea offer in February 2020. A trial for Cooper set for June was postponed by an order of the Michigan Supreme Court suspending all jury trials in spring. Cooper’s trial is now scheduled for March 29 to 31.

∫ Also scheduled for trial on March 29, Robert Clark is considering a plea offer, his attorney said on Monday. Clark is accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl.

∫ If no settlement is reached first, jurors will consider drug charges at an April 14 to 16 trial for Teresa Kortman, 37. Kortman’s attorney on Monday argued his client shouldn’t have been charged twice with possession of methamphetamine after police found a small amount of the drug in Kortman’s car and, later, a larger stash Kortman allegedly tossed out the car window. The intent to deliver charge was understandable, defense attorney Bill Pfeifer said, since Kortman told police she planned to deliver the tossed drugs.

∫ Blaine Crumley, whose trial date is not yet set, is at an impasse in agreeing to a plea offer, his attorney said on Monday. When defense attorney Peter Samouris asked to discuss rules about evidence to be presented at the trial, Bolser noted that Samouris was raising questions about facts juries need to decide for themselves.

∫ Rape charges against Andrew Wekwert, 27, will lead to a trial unless Wekwert pleads guilty by February 16, Judge Ed Black said on Monday. Status conferences in Wekwert’s case have been rescheduled since September, mostly slowed by the county’s inability to have trials because of COVID-19-related restrictions, Black said.

With jury trials set to resume in March after a year’s hiatus, the court will limit pre-trial hearings to keep cases moving along, Black said.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, or on Twitter @jriddleX.

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