'Smith County justice, baby!' shouts capital murder defendant - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

'Smith County justice, baby!' shouts capital murder defendant

James Calvert. Source: KLTV Staff. James Calvert. Source: KLTV Staff.
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - It was a long afternoon in court as a Tyler man, charged with capital murder, continued to represent himself. James Calvert's trial isn't expected to start until later in 2014. However, Thursday, attorneys were before the judge for a pre-trial hearing that lasted for hours. Calvert is accused of murdering his ex-wife on Halloween in 2012 and kidnapping the couple's young son. 

Calvert filed nearly a dozen motions and the topics touched on just about everything. First, he raised suspicions that his indictment wasn't done by the books. Calvert told the court something might have been done improperly in the process, but he didn't know what.

"I'm not trying to get adversarial with him, but basically what he's done is he's gotten up and said a big bunch of nothing," said Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham.

The district attorney's office agreed to meet many of Calvert's requests for more photos of evidence and documents seized by investigators.
Another chief concern Calvert took up with the judge--- how to best hide his shackles from the jury. Calvert requested a shock collar.

"If I could get out of the leg brace and instead have a shock collar," Calvert explained.
"You want a shock collar on?" asked Judge Jack Skeen Jr. as some courtroom spectators began to chuckle.
"Well, yeah because the shock collar doesn't impede my presumption of [innocence]," said Calvert.
"If we get into a situation where we have to use the shock collar, it's going to be real evident to the jury you're in custody because you're going to be on the floor," explained Judge Skeen.

It didn't take long for Calvert to go back to arguing that the DA's office is withholding evidence. They agreed to make sure that's not the case, but Calvert said he'd just get the evidence on his own.

"Let me tell you how that works, Mr. Calvert. I know you think that you control everything, but you don't," said Judge Skeen.

Calvert, visibly agitated, was escorted out of the courtroom but not before he had some words for Smith County.

"Smith County Justice, Baby!" shouted Calvert as he was taken back to jail.

Calvert also argued that the law library in the jail is insufficient for his and other inmates' needs. However, he also pointed out that past cases show inmates aren't supposed to have access to a law library when representing themselves. Calvert will be back in court on July 17th.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.


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