Court Reports: Daniel McGowan and Chelsea Gerlach

 
Yesterday, I attended hearings for Daniel McGowan and Chelsea Gerlach. Daniel was arraigned on 16 new counts. Two of the counts charge Daniel with attempted Arson at Superior Lumber Company, and the other 14 stem from the fire at Jefferson Poplar farm in Clatskanie. These charges add another mandatory life sentence if convicted. There will be a status hearing on January 9th at 1:30pm in front of Judge Coffin. Trial is set (for now) February 28 at 9am in front of Judge Aiken.

Chelsea's lawyer presented arguments in favor of her release following the motion filed Wednesday. Her lawyer argued that Chelsea should be released and asked that the judge evaluate the motives of the two named informants that appear to be all the Gov has as evidence. He said, "The government has jumped in bed with a man who faces life, who is now loose in the community, who has admitted to setting at least three and maybe a fourth fire." The judge denied Chelsea's release pending trial stating that her defense could argue the questionability of the informant testimony in trial.

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According to the Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Daniel McGowan went to court in Judge Coffin's courtroom on Dec 22, 2005. He was there for both his initial hearing and also an arraignment. He entered a NOT GUILTY plea. His counsel has 21 days to present a motion now to the court. Both sides have 10 days to exchange discovery materials now. The status conference for Daniel is set for Jan 9, 2006, at 1:30 pm, in the Eugene Federal Courthouse. The presence of the accused is required. You may call the court clerk's office at 541-465-6423 to make sure it is happening at that time close to the date. At the status conference, they will determine if the case is ready to go to trial.

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