Capital murder defendant: State is not ready for trial - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Capital murder defendant: State is not ready for trial

James Calvert adjusts his files in court. (Source: KLTV staff) James Calvert adjusts his files in court. (Source: KLTV staff)
James Calvert adjusts his files in court. (Source: KLTV staff) James Calvert adjusts his files in court. (Source: KLTV staff)
District Attorney Matt Bingham speaks in court. (Source: KLTV staff) District Attorney Matt Bingham speaks in court. (Source: KLTV staff)

Accused murderer James Calvert appeared in court Thursday morning for a pre-trial hearing. In court, Calvert argued a string of more than 10 motions and said the state was not ready to proceed with a trial.

Judge Jack Skeen said the jury selection will begin as scheduled, on April 23. District Attorney Matt Bingham said, "Your Honor, we are ready. We will try this case, and we will convict him."

Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife and kidnapping their son in October of 2012. The Smith County DA has said they intend to seek the death penalty in the case. Calvert is representing himself in court.

In one motion, Calvert sought to have his burglary, robbery and kidnapping charges severed from his capital murder charges, saying that they were separate and dissimilar. The motion was denied.

He also asked the court to recognize his objections when he verbalizes them, saying that he often was ignored or interrupted. Judge Jack Skeen responded that he couldn't make a blanket order on reactions to every objection.

READ MORE: Continuance denied in latest Calvert pre-trial hearing

The judge then asked him if he planned to call a witness to support his claim of prosecutorial misconduct and Calvert said he would call himself to the stand.

Calvert claimed that the prosecution saw items that were seized from his jail cell and he asked for the district attorney to be disqualified from the case. He told the court that he had documents and witness lists in his cell. The district attorney said he had never seen those items. The documents were seized because officials had a warrant based on a charge that the defendant was presenting himself as an attorney in jail.

The defendant, who made his arguments while handcuffed, said the handcuffs were slowing him down as he rifled through files. He then argued that the State has an unfair advantage because they have already seen his defense and legal strategy. 

Bingham said the Smith County investigator had not seen the details of the documents seized from Calvert's jail cell but that even if they had, that is not grounds for disqualification of the attorneys for the State. Bingham told the judge that he has not seen any of the documents or lists that Calvert referenced.

Calvert is known for his antics in court. In August of 2014, courtroom bailiffs had to drag him into court when he refused to attend a hearing. He was brought in slumped in a wheelchair. And earlier that year, in June, Calvert refused to sign paperwork and began shouting, "Smith County justice baby."

READ MORE: Accused murderer to court: 'Smith County justice, baby!'

His next motion concerned the State's expert witness list. Calvert said the witnesses didn't have full addresses listed and should be removed. The State said the list bears all the information they have. Bingham said that if Calvert were a lawyer, he would understand the list is fine.

"Mr. Calvert believes he is the smartest man in the room," Bingham said.

In his following motion, the defendant asked for access to a law library to make sure his case law research was current. Skeen asked him if he had case law proof that entitled him as a pro se defendant to have access to online case research. Calvert restated his request, saying he wants leniency if he ever uses case law in court that is outdated or overruled.

That motion was denied.

Calvert had more motions he wanted to argue and the judge told him to make a list for his next court date.

"They are really little things, but they are really important," Calvert said.

Another motion discussed during the hearing was to preclude a retrial, even though he hasn't had a trial yet. Bingham said the motion was a waste of the court's time and should be denied.

The judge asked Calvert how a ruling could be made about a retrial when the first trial has not taken place.

"It's a placeholder, Your Honor," Calvert said, before agreeing that the motion was premature.

More proceedings in the case are on the horizon. Skeen said some of the motions Calvert presented would be dealt with in the future.

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