MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Defense attorneys for a man charged with killing a Memphis police officer cannot receive video evidence and the officer’s daily activities log from the police department ahead of a preliminary hearing, a judge ruled Thursday.
Shelby County General Sessions Judge Loyce Lambert Ryan ruled in favor of a motion by prosecutors to quash subpoenas issued by public defenders for Tremaine Wilbourn, 29. He is charged with fatally shooting Officer Sean Bolton during a struggle on Aug. 1.
The subpoenas sought Bolton’s daily log and video and audio materials, including police car dashboard camera footage and police surveillance video, from the department before Wilbourn’s preliminary hearing next month. But prosecutors and the police department objected, saying the evidence is part of an ongoing investigation and it does not have to be handed over at this time.
Zayid Saleem, an assistant city attorney representing the Memphis Police Department, told the judge he does not believe police have dashboard camera footage of the shooting, which took place at night on a residential street in one of Memphis’ tougher neighborhoods.
“This is just a big fishing expedition,” prosecutor Alanda Dwyer said.
Defense attorney Jennifer Case argued Wilbourn’s right to due process allows the defense to seek the evidence now. But Ryan disagreed, ruling their subpoenas were premature because that evidence is given to the defense as part of the discovery process for trial, not a preliminary hearing.
“I do not see where his due process rights will be abridged,” the judge said.
Ryan did order the police department and prosecutors to preserve the evidence sought by the defense team. But she scolded the defense team for “undercutting” the legal process by sending the subpoenas directly to the police department instead of through her court.
Bolton, who was white, was the third Memphis officer to be fatally shot in slightly more than four years. Wilbourn is black.
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