Accused capital murderer James Calvert toys with court: "I'm not the defendant"

TYLER (KYTX) -- Accused capital murderer James Calvetrt was back in court Thursday for another pretrial hearing.

Calvert is accused of killing his ex-wife Jelena on Haloween of 2012 and then kidnapping, going on the run with his young son.

Calvert, who long ago fired his court-appointed attorneys and began representing himself, began by making a motion to compel the production of photos of evidence. The motion covered photos of items previously ruled upon by Judge Jack Skeen Jr. as items Calvert would be entitled.

Calvert said they had not been provided. District Attorney Matt Bingham reminded the court that Calvert threw a tantrum during the previous hearing and refused to sign for evidence given to him by the DA's office.

Bingham provided additional evidence Thursday. Calvert again refused to sign. Judge Skeen decided to read the contents of what was changing hands into the record as a stop-gap measure.

Calvert's next motion sought a ruling barring any requirement that he sign for any additional evidence.

"The state could use that against me at trial," he told Judge Skeen without elaborating on how that might happen.

The judge granted the motion to the extent that all sides were amenable to the system involving reading the contents of prepared evidence collections into the record.

Calvert's next motion was to be provided with an "adequate law library" at the jail.

"There's one book that has a [copy of the state's] criminal code from 2005 and 2006," Calvert said. "My needs are a little more advanced."

Calvert said he had no access to current case law or a law dictionary. He complained that what is already present at the jail has no means of electronic lookup.

"I'm stuck. I'm left having to try to contact someone on the outside," Calvert said. "And these are little old ladies who are not very legally savvy."

Bingham noted that he did not believe there was a requirement for the jail to have a law library in the first place.

"I think someone who purports to be as intelligent as the defendant should understand that when you choose to represent yourself and you are incarcerated, there are certain things you won't have access too," Bingham said.

Calvert said he was moving for an investigation into whether the library at the jail was adequate.

Bingham and Judge Skeen said they were unclear on who would perform such an investigation or what guidelines they would use.

Calvert began to argue that he was different from other defendants who invoke their right to self-represetation.

"My case is different because I felt I had no other choice," Calvert said.

"No," Judge Skeen said. "You're not going to put conditions on things now."

Skeen told Calvert he had been provided two qualified attorneys and chose voluntarily not to use them. Calvert said he firmly believed his decision was fundamentally different than those made by other defendants in case law cited in the motion.

Eventually the conversation returned to the motion itself. Judge Skeen indicated he was still unsure what Calvert was specifically asking to have provided in the jail' slaw library.

Calvert enumerated some specifics. His standby council, Jeff Haas, said he would provide that.

Calvert's next motion was to further modify the amount of time he's allowed to use the laptop being provided for preparation of his defense. Judge Skeen ruled that Calvert could have an additional hour per weekday, totaling five hours.

Calvert moved to be able to use that laptop in court at trial. Judge Skeen granted the motion.

Calvert moved to be able to keep access to the computer following a potential conviction. Judge Skeen allowed it up to the potential point at which Calvert would be moved to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Calvert's motion for transcription of proceedings was granted.

Calvert then moved to be given recordings and transcriptions of jail phone calls involving himself. The motion was granted to a certain extent, barring any transcriptions done by the state and not used in court.

Calvert made a motion to have jail phone calls involving him and made any time after his decision to represent himself made off limits to the prosecution. Judge Skeen asked him to narrow his motion. Calvert was largely unable to do so.

Bingham presented numerous case law examples that he said firmly established the lack of a right to privacy for jailed defendant. He said he would be amenable to Calvert making specific requests for certain phone calls to be off limits based on specific criteria.

Calvert told Judge Skeen he thought that was unfair.

"The thing is, I'm not the defendant," Calvert said.

"Actually, you are," Judge Skeen said.

Bingham argued that identities of expert witnesses are mutually disclosed and that his office doesn't listen to phone calls between the jail and such people anyway.

Judge Skeen ruled that any calls Calvert wanted to have shielded would have to be submitted to the court individually. Calvert objected and was overruled.

Calvert's motion for a computer expert quickly produced a discussion of what was on the hard drive inside the computer police seized from Calvert's home. Bingham indicated that Calvert was storing names of police officers, mirror images of others' personal cell phones, names and images of local attorneys' wives.

Calvert said his former job as a computer expert for law firms justified the contents of the drive. He added his belief that the drive was obtained using a legally indefensible search warrant.

Calvert made what seemed to be an ultimatum, saying that Bingham's failure to return certain items would result in Calvert going forward in a "messy" motion to suppress hearing which would seek to essentially invalidate the search warrant and the results thereof.

Following an extended conversation in which Bingham and standby attorney Jason Cassel made efforts to create a scheme under which the digital files could be shared. Calvert said that was unsatisfactory and insisted on going forward with a hearing on a motion to suppress the warrant sometime in the future.



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