Commonwealth Journal

October 3, 2013

Trial date set for Pulaski deputy

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A trial date has been set in the Western District of Kentucky case of a Pulaski County deputy accused of brutality.

United States Western Kentucky District Court Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell set a trial date of Feb. 3, 2014 for Steven Molen, 48, who is accused of a civil rights violation that alleged occurred while Molen was working as a deputy.

The federal indictment, handed down earlier this month, alleges that Molen used excessive force against former Burnside Mayor Chuck Fourman during Fourman’s August 24, 2008 arrest, which took place just over the county line in Russell County.

“Specifically, the defendant assaulted (Fourman), resulting in bodily injury ...” states the Western District indictment.

Fourman was arrested after he led city and county police on a high-speed chase that began in the city limits and ended in Russell County after around 30 minutes.

Testimony given by Fourman during a 2011 hearing revealed that Molen had allegedly used excessive force against the former mayor during the arrest. Fourman took the stand during the 2011 hearing as requested by local tow truck company owner Danny Whitaker’s then-attorney, Scott Foster. Whitaker accused Molen of using excessive force against him, and Foster attempted to establish a pattern of similar behavior on Molen’s part during the 2011 hearing in hopes of fighting Whitaker’s criminal charges stemming from the incident.

Whitaker is one of two victims named in indictments handed down by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Kentucky, based in London. Molen is also accused of violating the civil rights of fellow Pulaski County resident Gordon Cowan.

Those two charges, both alleging civil rights violations and brutality on Molen’s part, were handed down in June of this year.  It was during Molen’s initial arraignment in the Eastern District in July when federal prosecutor Patrick Molloy hinted at an expected third indictment, to be handed down in a separate case that occurred “just over the line in Russell County” — the incident involving Fourman.

Molen is awaiting a December 17, 2013 trial in the Eastern District of Kentucky based on Whitaker and Cowan’s cases.

Molen is being represented by attorneys Patrick F. Nash, Brandon W. Marshall, and Joe A. Jarrell in both the Eastern and Western cases.

Russell’s order setting Molen’s trial date in the Western District (based in Bowling Green, Ky.) was handed down on Sept. 30. That order followed a Sept. 25 telephone conference between Molen, his attorneys, and the U.S. — represented in the conference by federal prosecutors Ali I. Ahmad and Joshua D. Judd.

Another telephone conference is set for Nov. 19, and Russell has ordered that any 404(b) evidence presented by the U.S. be filed no later than 21 days prior to Molen’s February trial.

404(b) evidence, which is expected to play a significant part in Molen’s Eastern District case, is evidence of other crimes or wrong acts that may be used in court for proof of motive, opportunity, intent, or other factors. The defendant is not put on trial for those alleged acts, but the evidence is meant to help establish some type of pattern of similar past behavior.