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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Former Spokane police Sgt. Gordon Ennis to be sentenced in June in rape case

FILE – Former Spokane Police Officer Gordon Ennis, center, is led from a Spokane County courtroom Wednesday, April 25, 2018 after his sentencing on rape charges was postponed while he changes attorneys, from Rob Cossey, second from left, to Mark Vovos. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A new sentencing date is set for former Spokane police Sgt. Gordon Ennis, who was convicted in March of raping a fellow police officer.

On Friday, Spokane Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno set the court date for June 8. It was previously set at April 28, but then delayed while the court sorted through a potential conflict of interest after Ennis indicated that he intended to drop his trial attorney Rob Cossey for Mark Vovos.

Ennis was found guilty of sexually assaulting a female officer at a house party in 2015. Trial lasted two weeks and featured multiple witnesses from the Spokane Police Department, including Ennis.

Prosecutors argued the switch should be vetted in court, since Vovos represented Sgt. John Gately, who was accused of tampering with evidence in the case. He was tried in 2016, when a jury was deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial. The state opted not to retry him on the misdemeanor charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Vovos did not represent Gately in trial. He was hired recently, when the state intended to use Gately as a witness in their case against Ennis.

In court records filed May 10, the state argued that since Vovos is still Gately’s attorney, it could impact the sentencing hearing and present a grounds for appeal if not handled correctly. The state asked the court to incur waivers from both clients saying the substitution will not impact their right to fair representation under the Sixth Amendment.

In Vovos’ response, he balked at the state’s claim that it presented a conflict.

“There are no secrets or confidences that are going to be used during cross-examination, and nothing will materially affect counsel’s representation of Mr. Ennis because of the prior representation of John Gately,” he wrote.

Both Ennis and Gately signed waivers of conflict.

Judge Moreno sided with Vovos, allowing the attorney to represent Ennis in sentencing.

Vovos also will represent Ennis during the appeals process, which Ennis currently is undergoing, according to court records.