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Judge denies attorney’s requests

Alex Green • Apr 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

It’s not what defense attorney Tom DeBacco wanted to hear.

DeBacco represents 19-year-old Alexander Reitzel, who faces felony charges for allegedly trying to break into the $835,000 home previously owned by State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba, last December.

DeBacco submitted a motion to retrieve phone records from Redfern, Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan, Ottawa County Sheriff Stephen Levorchick and Catawba Island Township police on or around the date of the alleged crime.

Visiting judge Dale Crawford denied the request, DeBacco said.

DeBacco also submitted a motion to cross-examine Redfern about any possible video editing done to the videos that, according to Mulligan and Redfern, show Reitzel trying to break-in.

This request, too, was denied — at least in DeBacco’s eyes.

Crawford told the defense attorney he could write and submit questions to Redfern directly, according to DeBacco.

”He said we could hire an investigator” DeBacco said.

DeBacco said he wants to know how the video was put together and if Redfern subscribed to a service that allowed editing of the video.

While DeBacco said he’s disappointed in the result of his requests, he did not criticize the visiting judge.

”I would have liked to seen all (the phone records)” DeBacco said. “But I’m not going to question the judge”

The phone records remain a critical element in the case for DeBacco, who has said all along that the charges were excessive and politically motivated.

As a result of Thursday’s hearing, any communication between the elected officials will apparently remain undisclosed.

Assistant prosecutor Joseph Gerber signed a motion to quash a subpoena and dismiss a motion for evidentiary hearing.

It reads: “If such documents exist, which have not already been produced, they do not make it more or less likely that defendant attempted to burglarize the victim’s home”

Reitzel was indicted five days after the alleged offense, a timespan much too quick, in DeBacco’s opinion.

Mulligan and Redfern have maintained the case was not fasttracked and there was no improper communication between them.

”It’s unsubstantiated,” Mulligan said in December. “The video shows (Reitzel) in real time on Redfern’s property for over an hour”

Redfern said he was offended by the allegations.  ”So Mr. DeBacco thinks I’m such a big shot, I can just get anyone indicted?” Redfern said in December. “I expect an apology”

About two weeks after the indictment, Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters recused himself from the case.

Winters told the Register he has had a contentious relationship with Redfern ever since Winters fired Lorrain Croy from her magistrate position in 2012.

Redfern recently said he did not agree with that decision, but it has nothing to do with his support of Lorrain Croy in the upcoming race for Ottawa County Common Pleas Court judge. He also said Winters overdramatized the relationship.

Crawford declined to comment, as it’s an ongoing case.

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