The judge who freed the Missouri man who confessed to raping his 5-month-old daughter is coming under heavy scrutiny, with one lawmaker calling for her impeachment.
According to LakeExpo.com, court documents show that Aaron Fisher — who Judge Patricia Joyce freed last week on the grounds that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated — actually waived his right to a speedy trial after claiming it had been abridged.
For six years, Fisher’s case has wound its way laboriously through Cole County Missouri’s small court system. Two judges recused themselves and Fisher has switched attorneys multiple times, while simultaneously making his legal team’s work more complicated by submitting handwritten motions from behind bars.
Fisher and his team have been granted multiple continuances and delays. Then, six weeks before the latest scheduled trial date, his case came before Judge Joyce, who released him.
On May 23, 2011, Fisher was set to go to trial, but his attorney Keith Halcomb requested a continuance. Judge Stan Moore asked Fisher in court whether he understood that to grant the continuance would thereby waive his right to a speedy trial.
LakeExpo.com reprinted the court transcript, which read in part:
THE COURT: Your attorney requested a continuance, do you have any objection?
MR. FISHER: No.ADVERTISEMENT
THE COURT: You filed some sort of a speedy trial request. You understand that your request for continuance today is a waiver of that request?
MR. FISHER: Yes.
On Sep. 15, Fisher’s latest attorney Jason Emmons filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that his client was not granted a speedy trail. That motion was sustained by Joyce and on Oct. 23, Fisher walked free.
Republican State Rep. Rocky Miller has called for Joyce to be removed from the bench.
Lake News Online quoted Miller as saying, “This appears to be the height of incompetency for a Circuit Court Judge in Missouri and I will be reviewing her performance to verify that it has risen to the level of impeachment.”
LakeExpo.com explained that in Missouri, impeachment of a circuit court judge is decided by the state House of Representatives with a trial before the state supreme court once the articles of impeachment are ratified.