Commonwealth Journal

July 26, 2013

Molen’s defense attorneys ordered to stay on case

Judge denies defense team extension

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

A federal judge, citing worries of a delay in a tight trial schedule, has denied a requested extension from Pulaski County Deputy Steve Molen’s attorneys to determine whether to continue forward as his representation in the civil rights violations case against him. 
In an order filed on Wednesday, July 24 — two days after Lexington-based attorneys Patrick F. Nash and Joe Jarrell asked for more time to decide whether to withdraw from the case — U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves declined to extend the initial deadline for the motion of appearance. 
Nash and Jarrell have represented Molen since he was indicted by a federal grand jury on civil rights violations in late June. Nash appeared with Molen during his initial appearance in U.S. District Court on July 11 and emphasized to U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram that he wasn’t certain whether his team would continue in the case with Molen.
Ingram, noting that  Reeves intends to adhere to a tight schedule, had asked that the attorneys file a motion to withdraw from the case by Monday, July 22. 
“Mr. Molen does not have adequate resources to pay the legal fees quoted by the undersigned attorneys. But, he has consulted with a family member who does have the resources, and who has promised to provide those resources for Mr. Molen’s attorney fee,” stated the request, filed by Nash on Monday. “To date, despite the promise that family member has not done so.”
Nash stated in the request that the family member is in the process of liquidating certain assets and investments to help pay the defense fees — a process that should take approximately 14 days.
“Because the quoted legal fee has not been paid, the undersigned attorneys cannot enter their appearance on this date (July 22, 2013),” stated Nash in the request.
U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey had stated no objection to the request in a document filed on Tuesday.
Reeves, in his order filed Wednesday, stated that “due to concerns of delay, the Court declines to extend this deadline further. 
“And because the time period originally set by the magistrate judge has elapsed, Mr. Jarrell and Mr. Nash are deemed counsel of record ...,” Reeves added. 
That essentially means that Nash and Jarrell must continue as Molen’s attorneys up through the trial, set for Sept. 9. 
Molen was indicted on two counts of violating the civil rights of two victims in incidents from October 2009 and October 2011. The two victims, identified only as D.W. and G.C. in court documents, are local tow truck company owner Danny Whitaker and Pulaski County resident Gordon Cowan. 
The indictments state that Molen “willfully deprived (the victims) of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution of the United States, to be secure in his person against unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a person acting under color of law.” 
Whitaker filed a civil lawsuit against Molen in 2010 stemming from the Oct. 2009 incident mentioned in the federal indictment. The lawsuit was filed in early October 2010 and was resolved and dismissed in federal court in February 2011. 
It was during a 2011 hearing, requested by Whitaker’s attorney at that time, Scott Foster, that a number of witnesses testified that Molen had allegedly assaulted them in the past. 
Molen was the target of another lawsuit, filed in 2011 by Kevin McCoy, that was eventually dismissed as well. 
Molen has pleaded not guilty to both charges contained in the federal indictment. 
It was during the July 11 hearing in U.S. District Court in London when prosecutor Patrick Molloy, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky, stated the short time-frame leading up to Molen’s trial may make it difficult for prosecutors to make their evidence accessible to the defense. 
Molloy stated that the U.S. intends to bring a number of things to light in the case, including several videos, eyewitness testimony and grand jury testimony by “agents involved in the events.”
Molloy also said the U.S. plans to introduce something called 404(b) evidence, which may point to other similar alleged acts carried out by Molen in cases unrelated to the two the indictments stem from. 
Molloy also stated that he is anticipating a third case against Molen to be brought before a grand jury, this time in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky, stemming from an alleged incident that he said occurred “just over the county line in Russell County.”
A motions hearing is set for Aug. 13, and a final pretrial conference is set for Aug. 23.