GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Justin Long has filed a response to a request for the release from jail of a Greencastle man accused of killing his neighbor this past April. In his response, Long asks that the motion, filed by Public Defender Joel Wieneke on behalf of Matthew Buis, be denied without a hearing. Buis, 40, has been in jail since late April. He is charged with Class A felony voluntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of Clifford Hulse, 57. Buis was formally charged on April 29 in Putnam County Circuit Court.
Wieneke's motion was a challenge of Indiana's Criminal Rule 4. C.R. 4 provides that a defendant must be released on his own recognizance if he is held for six months after arrest and a trial has not been held. "However," Long wrote in his response, "This time period can be extended if the defendant's acts are responsible for any delay in the trial date beyond the time limits provided in the rule."
Long pointed out that on June 24 at a pretrial conference, defense counsel requested a jury trial date in early 2011. The court set a date of Dec. 8.
"Defense counsel agreed with and consented to this date," Long said.
On Aug. 8, Buis filed a letter with the court requesting a speedy trial. At a hearing on Aug. 26, Buis withdrew the request.
"Again, Judge (Matthew) Headley not only confirmed the jury trial date with the parties, but also confirmed that the defendant had been held since April," Long said. "Neither the defendant nor his counsel objected to the December date based on the request of previous defense counsel. Judge Headley also confirmed with defense counsel that there would be no C.R. 4 challenges based on this date."
Long maintained that at the Aug. 26 hearing, Wieneke had the opportunity to move the trial date up to within the required six-month period, but "chose not to."
"Now that the time has expired, the defendant is claiming a violation has occurred," Long wrote. "Once the defense took the affirmative act of specifically requesting a jury trial date in 2011, well beyond the period prescribed by (C.R. 4), the delay from June 24 forward is chargeable to him."
Long said Buis and his counsel actually caused the delay of the trial, saying Wieneke "had ample time to fix the problem and chose to do nothing about it."
"The defendant's acts are the sole cause for any delay in the trial beyond the six-month period in C.R. 4," Long said. "The defendant cannot cause the delay, sit idly by until after the time period has passed and then claim that the court has violated his rights."
Buis had pled not guilty, and has maintained that he shot Hulse in self-defense. Headley set his bond at $100,000 cash only.
A Class A felony carries an advisory sentence of 30 years in prison. The minimum sentence is 20 years, and the maximum is 50 years.