Capital Murder defendant Calvert wheeled, unwilling, into district courtroom

Capital Murder defendant Calvert wheeled, unwilling, into district courtroom

James Calvert was wheeled into Judge Jack Skeen Junior's courtroom Thursday afternoon in what appeared to be a catatonic state and seemingly restrained as deputies balanced him on a wheelchair while supporting his escalader has long been the source of dramatic and theatrical antics over the course of his extended pretrial period. He fired his court-appointed attorneys and elected to represent himself against the charge of capital murder which stems from the accusation that he killed his ex-wife and kidnapped his young son on Halloween of 2012.

Calvert sat still and silent for approximately twenty minutes before the hearing began. He immediately moved to have the court go into a private ex parte hearing and was denied.

Assistant District Attorney April Sikes tendered a pretrial exhibit of evidence consisting of a search an seizure warrant for Calvert's jail cell and the accompanying affidavit.

Sikes explained that the warrant was based on an investigation that found Calvert was using his county-provided laptop to masquerade as an attorney and print legal documents for other inmates.

Calvert has allegedly been in receipt of 5,000 pieces of paper and ordered 5,000 more. He has filed fewer than 300 pages of documents on his own behalf in his capital murder case.

"He has perpetrated a theft on the citizens of this county," Sikes said.

Sikes cited interviews with other inmates conducted by her investigator in which they said Calvert was offering his services.

"He comes in here and claims he hasn't had time to [prepare his case]," Sikes said. "The reality is this Judge. Calvert isn't using that computer for it's intended purposes."

Sikes requested that the computer be confiscated and retained in the possession of the Smith County Sheriff's office pending a hearing and that the court return to the previous system under which the DA's office provided discovery in the case in paper form.

"I deny all the allegations," Calvert said. "It's obvious the District Attorney's office just wants to see what I'm doing [on the computer]."

Voice shaking, Calvert claimed to have been "seized upon" in his jail cell. He claimed it was a plot against him and he requested to have the technology items returned to him.

"Your honor we don't want to look into his computer," District Attorney Matt Bingham said.

"That's a lie your honor," Calvert said.

Judge Jack Skeen, Jr. ordered the items to remain in the Sheriff's custody. 

"You're going to destroy my defense," Calvert claimed. 

Skeen denied that anything would be destroyed. 

"I'm ring penalized for being a capital murder defendant that's pro se and they just can't deal with it," Calvert said, referring to the district attorney's office. 

Skeen set a special hearing for the full discussion of the issues with Calvert's jail behavior for Friday, August 29. 

Bingham called jail inmate Danny Varner as a witness for the proceedings. Varner was sworn in as a witness and given rules to govern his anticipated testimony in advance of next week's hearing. 

Related Stories:

Accused capital murderer James Calvert toys with court: "I'm not the defendant"
Court allows accused murderer James Calvert access to notebook computer


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