TYLER (KYTX) -- Capital murder defendant James Calvert returned to court for another pretrial hearing Thursday, continuing his fight for expanded computer access and other privileges as he prepares to defend himself at trial.
Judge Jack Skeen Junior said Calvert had made a request on March 17 for a thumb drive for use with the computer he has this far refused to use. Calvert said he wanted to store his data on that, rather than on the computer's internal storage.
Sheriff's Lieutenant Larry Wiginton said the thumb drive, if approved by the court, would be placed in a sealed envelope between each daily allotment of computer time. Calvert indicated that he had filed a motion in opposition to having the thumb drive taken from him between uses, but Judge Skeen said Thursday's hearing was not the appropriate venue for that argument.
"I can't see what security issues there would be," Calvert said. "Or what I would be able to do with that that could cause a problem."
"It's the jail's decision," Skeen said.
Assistant District Attorney April Sykes said she had been informed of numerous instances of contraband inside Calvert's cell, including a razor blade and a paper clip that had been fashioned into a handcuff key.
"That's a blatant lie," Calvert said.
Calvert then called Lieutenant Wiginton as a witness.
"What is your concern with regard to the metal in a flash drive?" Calvert asked.
"We're worried you could fashion a weapon that could harm one of our deputies," Wiginton said.
On cross-examination, Sykes asked Wiginton about Calvert's disciplinary record in the Smith County Jail. Wiginton testified to a large amount of problems jailers have ha with Calvert.
Sykes then introduced a document into evidence describing Calvert's disciplinary history at the jail.
Wiginton reiterated his testimony as to Calvert's apparent propensity for having contraband in his jail cell.
Calvert objected to Wiginton's testimony as hearsay and was overruled.
Throughout the proceeding, Calvert drew the ire of Judge Skeen by being unable or unwilling to comply with common court procedures. There were several tense exchanges in which Judge Skeen has to explain legal basics to Calvert in order to keep the proceedings from going too far off track.
"Lieutenant, you've said paper can be a problem," Calvert said. "Why have you not attempted to take that from me too?"
Judge Skeen clarified that the large volume of paper provided under discovery is inside Calvert's cell only due to a court order, and not at the pleasure of jailers.
"Objection your honor," Calvert said.
"No you don't object to what the court says," Judge Skeen said. "I'm going to finish."
To date, Calvert has refused to use the computer for which the flash drive is being provided.
"It's all fairly unnecessary given his continued refusal," Sykes said.
Separately, Calvert demanded that he be given documentation supporting his continued stay in jail.
Judge Skeen and Sykes said the arrest warrant and indictment against Calvert satisfied that request.
Calvert then moved to be released from jail. Judge Skeen denied the request.