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Sirens & Gavels

Courthouse watch: 9.15.09

The married boyfriend of convicted killer Shellye Stark could be released from jail Thursday.

Brian L. Moore's public defender argued for him to be released at a bail hearing today, but a judge delayed the decision so federal officials can verify where Moore will be staying in Orange County.

Assistant U.S Attorney Jill Bolton had asked for Moore to remain in custody until he's transported to California to face federal weapons charges. Her reasoning hinged on the fact that Moore has no money to pay for his return to California.

"This is the first time I've heard we should hold a defendant so he can get a free ride home," said Moore's lawyer, Tina Hunt.

Moore's transportation to California can be worked out with family members, Hunt said.

"He doesn't need a free ride with the Marshal's office," she said.

Absent from the government's argument to hold Moore was the fact that the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office intends to refile charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

"The case was dismissed," Hunt said. "There's no reason to hold him on anything or believe that he did anything wrong."

The charges being dropped basically amounts to an act of legal maneuvering by the prosecutor's office to avoid having a judge address the defense's motion to dismiss, which was set for Thursday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hutton, appearing via video from Yakima, said, "It's unclear to me that Mr. Moore has the financial means to return to California, but I agree with Ms. Hunt that that's not necessarily the basis for continuing his confinement. He does appear to have significant contacts with Orange County, California."

A new bail hearing is set for Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

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