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Thursday, February 28, 2008

[IN] If tape looks like Sgt Boocher hit wife, it's a delusion?

Judge asked to bar witnesses, delay trial of South Bend police officer
Domestic violence case pending against Wayne Boocher

South Bend Tribune
By Marti Goodlad Heline
mheline@sbtinfo.com (574) 235-6327
Feb 27, 2008
A judge has taken under advisement two issues in the domestic violence case pending against a South Bend police officer. Mark Lenyo, attorney for officer Wayne Boocher, asked Judge Roland W. Chamblee Jr. to prohibit Target employees from testifying at Boocher’s upcoming trial in lieu of a surveillance tape that has already been ruled out as evidence because of its poor condition. Lenyo argued that someone’s account of what he or she observed on the tape may not be accurate. Lenyo said he is concerned the wrong interpretation might convict his client, who denies he hit his wife as he is charged. Boocher faces two misdemeanor counts and a felony count of domestic violence stemming from an incident outside the Target store on Ireland Road in January 2007. The case accuses Boocher of striking his wife in front of their children outside the store. The tape was not properly preserved and was degraded by repeated viewings, either by Target employees or the prosecutor’s staff, according to Lenyo. Chamblee granted a defense motion last year to bar the tape as evidence. The prosecution wants to use the testimony of Target employees who viewed the tape to make up for the loss of the video. Boocher’s wife told The Tribune that she lied when she accused her husband of striking her last year. The prosecution Wednesday asked for a postponement of the trial set to start April 14 because the wife of Deputy Prosecutor Cory Hamel, who is scheduled to try the case, is due to give birth at that time. Lenyo opposed a delay, saying his client is eager to get the case over with. It is 13 months old; Boocher has been on unpaid leave from the Police Department. After the hearing, Chamblee said the lawyers could send him pertinent legal citations, and he indicated he would rule soon.

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