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HomeNewsArchivesSCHNEIDER PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO ALL CHARGES

SCHNEIDER PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO ALL CHARGES

Territorial Court Judge Ive A. Swan set aside a motion to dismiss all charges against former governor Roy L. Schneider and three former aides Thursday and set a tentative date of June 5 for them to go to trial on the charges of conspiracy, fraud and falsification of records.
Charged along with Schneider are Maureen Bryan, who was his executive assistant; Dean Wallace, who was his acting Finance commissioner; and Alvin Battiste, who until last month was director of management and budget for the Office of the Governor.
Schneider was represented by attorneys Joseph Arellano of St. Thomas and Ivan Fisher of New York. Wallace was represented by attorney Stephen Brusch. Both Schneider and Wallace entered pleas of not guilty to all charges. Brusch asked for a jury trial for Wallace.
Battiste appeared in court without a lawyer and asked Swan to appoint one; the judge named attorney Alan Smith to represent him. Bryan said she had an attorney but provided the person's name only to the judge. Arraignments for Battiste and Bryan are set for Thursday, March 16.
Douglas Sprotte, V.I. assistant attorney general, and V.I. Justice Department attorney Guy Mitchell represented the government.
At Thursday's proceedings, in a courtroom packed with Schneider supporters, Swan asked Sprotte what statute of limitations applied in the case. Sprotte stated that, first, for falsification of records there is no limit, and, second, for the other charges the limit is three years.
When debate ensued over the definition of "falsification of records," Swan demanded to know under which section of the V.I. Code the charges fell. Sprotte said, "We could have gone shopping to get 50 to 60 charges, but we limited our search."
Swan said whether the case moves forward will depend on "which subsection applies here. If subsection 1 applies, then the government prevails. If it's subsection 2, then it's kaput." He ordered attorneys for both sides to produce memoranda on the matter. Sprotte said he would need a week to do so, and Arellano said he needed two weeks.
Swan announced he was rejecting the motion for dismissal of charges outright because "it was hand-delivered to me at 9:34 this morning, and I don't act on something I have received just before court."
He set a deadline of Friday, May 5, for filing all motions relating to the case.
Swan noted that Judge Soraya Diase had earlier recused herself from hearing the case because of "knowing the defendants." He said Judge Ishmael Meyers would recuse himself for the same reason, as Schneider is his physician. Saying he wanted it in the record, Swan then launched into a long, sometimes humorous description of his acquaintance with the defendants, whom, with the exception of Bryan, he has known since childhood. He noted that Schneider was his doctor, too, until becoming governor.
He then asked if any of the attorneys would object to a St. Croix judge hearing the case, "should it come to that." None did. Swan said he would study judicial ethics to ensure no conflict of interest existed.
Swan cautioned the attorneys on both sides that he was not enforcing a "gag order" at this time but they should not talk to the press or hold any more press conferences, adding he could always issue a "gag order" at a later date.
A gag order prevents the prosecution and defense attorneys from speaking to the media.
After consultations with all sides, Swan set a tentative trial date of June 5. He suggested that jury selection in the case might be difficult.
After the proceedings, Schneider's supporters poured into the hallway and surrounded him, appearing satisfied with the proceedings.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole, who was among those in the audience, said he had come to support his friend Wallace.
Editor's note: For the full affidavit and information on this case see Community/Data section of St. Thomas Source.

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Territorial Court Judge Ive A. Swan set aside a motion to dismiss all charges against former governor Roy L. Schneider and three former aides Thursday and set a tentative date of June 5 for them to go to trial on the charges of conspiracy, fraud and falsification of records.
Charged along with Schneider are Maureen Bryan, who was his executive assistant; Dean Wallace, who was his acting Finance commissioner; and Alvin Battiste, who until last month was director of management and budget for the Office of the Governor.
Schneider was represented by attorneys Joseph Arellano of St. Thomas and Ivan Fisher of New York. Wallace was represented by attorney Stephen Brusch. Both Schneider and Wallace entered pleas of not guilty to all charges. Brusch asked for a jury trial for Wallace.
Battiste appeared in court without a lawyer and asked Swan to appoint one; the judge named attorney Alan Smith to represent him. Bryan said she had an attorney but provided the person's name only to the judge. Arraignments for Battiste and Bryan are set for Thursday, March 16.
Douglas Sprotte, V.I. assistant attorney general, and V.I. Justice Department attorney Guy Mitchell represented the government.
At Thursday's proceedings, in a courtroom packed with Schneider supporters, Swan asked Sprotte what statute of limitations applied in the case. Sprotte stated that, first, for falsification of records there is no limit, and, second, for the other charges the limit is three years.
When debate ensued over the definition of "falsification of records," Swan demanded to know under which section of the V.I. Code the charges fell. Sprotte said, "We could have gone shopping to get 50 to 60 charges, but we limited our search."
Swan said whether the case moves forward will depend on "which subsection applies here. If subsection 1 applies, then the government prevails. If it's subsection 2, then it's kaput." He ordered attorneys for both sides to produce memoranda on the matter. Sprotte said he would need a week to do so, and Arellano said he needed two weeks.
Swan announced he was rejecting the motion for dismissal of charges outright because "it was hand-delivered to me at 9:34 this morning, and I don't act on something I have received just before court."
He set a deadline of Friday, May 5, for filing all motions relating to the case.
Swan noted that Judge Soraya Diase had earlier recused herself from hearing the case because of "knowing the defendants." He said Judge Ishmael Meyers would recuse himself for the same reason, as Schneider is his physician. Saying he wanted it in the record, Swan then launched into a long, sometimes humorous description of his acquaintance with the defendants, whom, with the exception of Bryan, he has known since childhood. He noted that Schneider was his doctor, too, until becoming governor.
He then asked if any of the attorneys would object to a St. Croix judge hearing the case, "should it come to that." None did. Swan said he would study judicial ethics to ensure no conflict of interest existed.
Swan cautioned the attorneys on both sides that he was not enforcing a "gag order" at this time but they should not talk to the press or hold any more press conferences, adding he could always issue a "gag order" at a later date.
A gag order prevents the prosecution and defense attorneys from speaking to the media.
After consultations with all sides, Swan set a tentative trial date of June 5. He suggested that jury selection in the case might be difficult.
After the proceedings, Schneider's supporters poured into the hallway and surrounded him, appearing satisfied with the proceedings.
Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole, who was among those in the audience, said he had come to support his friend Wallace.
Editor's note: For the full affidavit and information on this case see Community/Data section of St. Thomas Source.