Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley Allen has granted yet another postponement of sentencing for convicted murderer Steven Swinford.
Jurors found Swinford guilty of second degree murder six weeks ago, and he was scheduled to appear before Judge Lesley Allen this morning at 9am for sentencing but that hearing has now been rescheduled for Friday March 29th at 2 PM.
Originally scheduled for sentencing in early March, Swinford’s hearing was postponed after Swinford’s defense attorney Jeremy Ford filed a motion for a new trial in late February citing prosecutorial misconduct by Chelan County Deputy Prosecutor Doug Shay. Ford claims Prosecutor Shae unfairly influenced jurors in closing arguments of the murder trial which resulted in his client’s conviction for shooting his friend Paul Raney seven times with a 45 caliber handgun in 2011.
Yesterday Ford asked Judge Allen for more time to review case law surrounding his appeal. The request was in response to examples of similar cases that Shae provided to the court which appeared to discredit the misconduct allegations. Judge Allen granted the postponement.
Judge Allan will now listen to defense arguments for a retrial on Friday March 30th and then likely issue a ruling from the bench before moving on to the sentencing phase. In the unlikely event that a retrial is granted the sentencing phase would be cancelled and a new trial date would be set. However defense retrial motions are standard practice and Judge Allan would have to contradict an earlier ruling she issued during closing arguments of the murder trial in February.
KOZI will be in the courtroom Friday, March 30th, and will pass that information on to you as the story unfolds. Stay tuned and keep an eye on our website and our facebook page.