The trial of William Bartlett is now underway in Canton Municipal Court before judge Stephen F. Belden. Ohioans For Concealed Carry is in the courtroom today and will attempt to blog the trial events in real time.
Motions and jury selection took place from 9am through 11:30am when the jury was seated. Fifteen minutes later we were permitted back into the room and began taking notes. The jury consists of six women and three men. The jury varies in ages with one woman and man each possibly in their fifties.
The rest of the trial blog will appear in real time below this part of the story.
11:45AM: The judge has advised the jury what being back on the record means. Instructions to the jury start with what a complaint is about. The jury may not consider the fact that a complaint was filed as evidence. Reasonable doubt is being explained.
"Compare this trial to a jigsaw box". Opening statements should begin soon.
12:06PM: Opening statements began. An employee of the Stark County Sheriff's Office was called to testify. Holly Paul is in charge of concealed handgun license applications and issuance. The application Bartlett submitted was shown and the white sleeve a CHL is placed in were discussed at length. It is unclear why this is being asked. The defense later asked if the sleeve is issued to protect the license. OFCC believes the prosecution is trying to make the point that a license in a white sleeve isn't obvious to the officer.
12:30PM the court broke for lunch. It is 1:30pm and we are not just coming back into the room. Officer Mark Diels was just called to the stand. He is a 16 year veteran of the force.
1:30PM Officer Diels is being asked basic questions to setup the baseline of what happened with the stop. When asked if he ever heard notification Diels states no. The focus now is on the events with the rear seat passenger.
1:42PM Diels is now talking about the time he was in the rear of the vehicle and states that Bartlett never identified while Diels was in the rear seat.
1:45PM Diels is now talking about the approach of the driver by Officer Harless. Diels is being asked what took place between Harless and Bartlett at the driver's side door. Diels says that Bartlett never identified to Harless and that it wasn't until he was removed from the vehicle and saw the white envelope in Bartlett's hand that the officers realized Bartlett was armed.
State exhibit 2 is a 38 caliber Ruger pistol and shown. The news media's cameras flicker to life as the pistol is held up by officer Diels.
The dash camera video is now being played for the jury with the prosecutor asking questions of Officer Diels.
While waiting for the traffic stop video to occur we did a survey of the room. There are approximately 30 people in the audience, most of them here clearly to support William Bartlett. The video starts as the officers pull up and Harless yells "Stay in that car!"
1:56PM: The video is being played by the prosecutor with Diels on the stand.
2:03PM: The video has been played so far without any interuption all the way up to removal from the car. Nothing seems to be removed, including the "put lumps on ya" statements by Harless. He is yelling at Bartlett and the audio is incredibly loud - it was stopped right as Diels says "not while I was in the car" and the prosecutor is going back to rewind the video to some point.
Mr. Turner is the man identified in the back seat. Officer Diels says that Turner was not forthright with who he was. Right now the prosecutor is replaying the video where Diels is in the back seat and asks if Bartlett identified while Diels was in the back seat. Diels says "he never does that" when asked again. Harless is seen standing to the rear of the vehicle and identified by Diels as officer Harless.
2:08PM: The prosecutor keeps asking questions while pausing the video. Officer Harless. This is interesting. The prosecutor LOWERED the audio a few minutes ago, and as soon as Bartlett said "I have a carry" she walked around and raised the volume of the television at the point where Harless was interrupted and starts to explain what he was doing in the area.
2:11PM: "Q: The thing that appears to be in the defendant's right hand, can you describe that to me?" - "A: That is a white envelope" - "Q: Does it indicate that the defendant is permitted to carry a handgun?" "A: No."
The television is removed and the prosecutor has more questions.
Diels is asked if he knows of Reliable Street Sweeping or has ever seen it in the area. He states that he is not familiar with it and has not seen it in the area.
2:14PM: The prosecution has no further questions.
2:17PM: The defense attorney has asked a number of questions about what Diels did with respect to approaching. Diels stated that he approached Harless and was asked "You were interviewed by someone else within the Canton Police department" and the prosecutor objected. It was sustained.
2:19PM: Is it possible that Bartlett could have said something to Officer Harless that you couldn't have heard. "no"
2:20PM: Is there anything specific that needs to be said according to the law? Could a written notice be good enough? Does the law require verbal notice? Objection - it was sustained by the judge.
2:21PM: Is handing a concealed handgun license to a police officer notice? "If he handed it to me and it wasn't in a white envelope". "I think he should have to notify verbally" "How are they issued?" "I don't really know"
How many concealed handgun licenses have you seen? "A few. 5, 10"
Is it possible William tried to hand officer Harless his license and officer Harless refused it? Diels couldn't answer this.
Defense attempts to introduce evidence but the prosecutor objects. It is believed that this is the police report. There appears to be a debate over if its admissible. The judge allows the evidence, defense exhibit A. It is identified by Diels as a concealed carry weapon complaint signed and sworn to under oath by both Diels and Harless.
The complaint states that the weapon was not discovered until AFTER the pat down search of the defendant and that the defendant didn't identify that he was licensed until AFTER this pat down search and the discovery of the weapon occurred. Diels admits on the stand that the criminal complaint is not truthful. (The criminal complaint doesn't properly identify what took place on the video and makes it sound like Bartlett never identified)
Diels is asked if he recalls Harless stating "That's a game I'd like to play" and Diels says no. The video is being set back up and diels is asked numerous questions about the video by the defense.
The officer is asked on redirect by the prosecutor in his opinion if the defendant notified promptly. The defense objection was sustained.
The prosecutor handed officer Diels a sealed #10 or larger envelope and asked if he knew what it was. It was a trick to imply that Bartlett's license was obscured. On further questioning by the defense council it was pointed out that the envelope was much bigger than a concealed handgun license.
The defense is up asking Diels additional questions about what a concealed handgun license looks like. Its agreed that they look like a driver's license.
ALL CHARGES AGAINST BARLETT DISMSISED BASED ON A MOTION TO DISMISS BY THE DEFENSE
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