Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Jurors will see judge's alleged sex toy
(More on this story here.)
BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) -- Jurors hearing the case against a former judge accused of exposing himself in his Creek County courtroom will be allowed to see the sex toy at the center of the state's allegations, a judge ruled Tuesday in rejecting a defense motion.
They also can hear testimony that a second "penis pump" was seen under former District Judge Donald Thompson's bench, among other evidence Thompson's attorneys sought to have barred from next week's scheduled trial.
"It's so fantastic and so unconnected to factual support, and so prejudicial," attorney Clark Brewster complained in trying to convince Judge C. Allen McCall to suppress some state evidence.
Thompson, 58, who spent more than 20 years on the bench before stepping down more than a year ago, faces three counts of indecent exposure.
Prosecutors allege he masturbated with a penis pump under his robe while presiding over two murder trials and a civil trial in 2003. Thompson denies the allegations and said the penis pump seized in the case was a gag gift from a friend.
Brewster argued that the state should be prevented from submitting the device as evidence, contending that not only did it not function but that it also was sawed in half while in the state's custody.
Prosecutor Pattye High said an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation chemist followed procedure in sawing the pump in two to swab it for DNA evidence. McCall denied the defense request.
The judge also refused a defense motion to prevent testimony from a courtroom reporter who said she discovered a different penis pump under the judge's bench in 2001.
Brewster said there was no evidence to link the pump to his client, but High countered that the testimony would help show "this defendant committed the same crime over and over and over again."
McCall took other issues raised by Thompson's team under advisement, including testimony from a woman who prosecutors said had a sexual relationship with Thompson and the admission of 180 hours of courtroom tapes they said contained the whooshing sound of the penis pump in use.
Brewster said he hadn't received the tapes until Friday and had no time to have an expert evaluate them or verify certain "enhanced" portions provided by prosecutors.
"If the jury is going to listen to these, they're going to need to listen to 180 hours," he also told the judge.
The trial is scheduled to begin Monday when attorneys begin questioning a 350-member jury pool. The trial is expected to last one to two weeks, High said.
Tuesday's hearing offered a glimpse at the lurid details jurors can expect to consider and even see if the judge decides prosecutors can admit a photo they say will be used by a witness to identify Thompson's penis.
Brewster had sought to have much of Tuesday's motions sealed, arguing that they contained anecdotal remarks from hundreds of people "with literally crazy things to say." He said media coverage of the hearing could taint potential jurors.
McCall refused, citing the public's right to know and the media's right to report. He allowed Brewster and High to agree on some of the contested claims before they were argued in the courtroom.
Brewster said some of the state's evidence would never be raised in a routine indecent exposure case.
"Because we've got a public figure, we want to vilify," he said.
But McCall said Thompson would be treated to the same fair trial guaranteed any other citizen.
He also made it clear that the former judge would not receive special treatment. When Thompson, who is free on bond, briefly stepped from the courtroom, McCall admonished Brewster, telling him the former judge should have asked for permission first.
If convicted, Thompson would face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine on each charge and would have to register as a sex offender upon his release.