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Siler case loses steam when attorney runs out of gas

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By Susan Sharp

On Tuesday, Jenny Siler didn’t get her day in court.

Instead, she was left sitting at a table with only half of her defense team present.

Before Siler could be arraigned on narcotics charges she incurred last month, Herb Moncier, one of her attorneys had filed a motion on her behalf. He was seeking to suppress alleged evidence found during Siler’s recent arrest along with any statements she may have made to LaFollette Police.

During Siler’s arraignment on Monday, where she pled not guilty to the narcotics charges, Moncier wanted the motion heard.

Instead, Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton set the hearing for 10 a.m. Tuesday.

However, as 10 a.m. came and went, Moncier was not present.

“He’s (Moncier) has five minutes. This was a special setting at his request,” Sexton told Kristi Anderson, Siler’s other attorney.

This prompted Anderson to leave the courtroom, returning a few moments later with a report on her co-counsel.

Explaining Moncier had had an emergency, Anderson assured the judge he would be there shortly.

But just a few moments later, Sexton appeared ready to start the hearing without Moncier present.

“The courtroom clock shows it is 10 after 10 are you ready to proceed,” he asked Anderson.

Attempting to explain she would begin because her colleague was en route, Sexton stopped her. After asking Anderson if she was prepared to conduct the hearing alone, she said Moncier had some of the documents needed in the case.

“Straight up, are you ready to go,” the judge asked.

Anderson again said Moncier had a portion of the needed paperwork.

“Then you are not ready,” Sexton said.

Before leaving the bench, Sexton reiterated the hearing had been set at the request of the defense. However, this time he added the setting of the matter was “highly outside the rules of courts and criminal procedures” as was the filing of the suppression motion before Siler had even been arraigned on the narcotics charges. The judge said he agreed to the deviation because of the mitigating circumstances in the case as well as Siler being in custody.

Asking for the case to be heard Aug. 17, Anderson also asked for a time.

“What good does it do,” Sexton said leaving the bench.

Within minutes, Moncier entered the courtroom announcing he appeared to be “two seconds too late.” Offering the explanation he had “run out of gas” to Anderson, Moncier attempted to speak with Assistant District Attorney General Scarlet Ellis. As those two left the courtroom, Ellis was heard telling him she “would not agree to hear anything today.” Ellis went on to tell Moncier she had other cases to prepare for.

Earlier in the month, Moncier attempted to have Siler released from jail after her June arrest. He argued that because she was on bail while the state appeals court considered her case, Sexton had no standing to revoke the bail. The judge disagreed leaving Siler in jail.

Moncier also disputed the legalities of Siler’s movement through the court system. He asked Sexton to send the case back to the general sessions court for another hearing. Sexton denied this as well.

The charges at the center of this case were acquired as Siler was out on bail from her 2005 arrest for narcotics possession.

Siler is contesting the sentence of four months jail time followed by eight years probation for those crimes. That case is in the hands of the state appeals court.

Siler is now being housed at the Scott County jail until her next hearing.