Originally Published: September 13, 2011 9:51 p.m.
PRESCOTT - An attorney for accused murderer Steven DeMocker filed a motion to reduce his bond from a million dollars cash-only to $250,000 as a way to get DeMocker out of solitary confinement.
Craig Williams said his client has already spent 11 months in solitary at the Yavapai County jail, "for no justifiable reason." He said that, while housed in that dorm, DeMocker's legal documents have been "read through" by guards and his cell has been searched.
DeMocker is awaiting the start of a retrial on a charge he killed his ex-wife in 2008. His first trial ended abruptly when his defense team quit.
Williams wrote that DeMocker's homemade chess set was confiscated. It consisted of a sheet of paper with lines drawn on it for squares and toilet-paper chess pieces. "This is not an uncommon practice," said Williams. He added that nearby inmates had similar boards, but they were not taken. DeMocker played by telephone with his father, making one move each day.
"The arbitrary seizure of that chess board seems like cruel, inhumane, and arbitrarily imposed punishment," Williams wrote.
He also argued that applying DeMocker's telephone calls to his attorneys to his daily 30-minute out-of-cell time violates his sixth amendment rights to actively participate in his defense, because he must also do "all his cleaning, exercise, and communicating with his family" during that same period of time.
Williams acknowledged previous arguments that it is not within a judge's purview to order jails to change housing arrangements, but said the judge could address the situation by allowing DeMocker to bond out.
Williams requested the court lower his client's bond to $250,000 secured, which means DeMocker could pay just 10 percent, or $25,000, and collateral could be used.
DeMocker claims he has no money at all.
A court-imposed gag order prevents both parties from commenting publicly on the trial.