Pre-Trial Hearing Set in Vote Fraud Case
A judge’s order was issued in federal court on Thursday, confirming the voter fraud case of the United States of America
against Brian Keith “Wormy” Hodge of Vonore had been set for a “pretrial hearing” at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23.
District Judge Leon Jordan in Knoxville said the trial remained scheduled for 9 a.m. on the same date, fifteen minutes
The order said “in light of the United States Supreme Court’s “Lafler and Frye” decisions, the case was set for a pretrial hearing…”
A transcript filed four days earlier remained sealed.
The Lafler and Frye decisions center on defense lawyers being constitutionally obliged to “bargain” at the behest of prosecutors, “specifically, if a prosecutor makes an offer that is too good to refuse, the defense attorney must not only inform the defendant of the offer but perhaps take steps to persuade the defendant to accept.”
“And a prosecutor has powerful and plentiful statutory weapons with which to make such an attractive offer.”
“Lafler and Frye have helped guarantee that a defendant has a good enough lawyer to convince him that the prosecutor holds the cards and that he is sunk.”
The Sixth Amendment guarantees that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to have assistance of counsel for his defense. As such, “ineffective” counsel is a violation of that right.
The federal government indicted Hodge just over a year ago in February, charging him with vote buying and conspiracy. In June, a “superseding indictment” was handed down, charging Hodge with witness tampering, conspiracy to commit voter fraud, and five counts of vote buying.
Also charged with conspiracy and vote buying was Betty Hawkins of Ballplay. She pleaded to conspiracy in March, the vote buying counts dismissed. Sentencing for her was set for February 28 at 1:30 p.m.