Judge Lewis to rule on whether voluntary manslaughter case moves forward, is dismissed

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CCM Staff Report

Visiting Judge Lindon D. Lewis will decide if the voluntary manslaughter case of a Carroll County sheriff deputy moves forward or is dismissed.

Attorney Kimberly Kendall Corral, attorney for sheriff deputy Jacob Baker, filed a motion to dismiss the case Dec. 11, stating a charge of voluntary manslaughter cannot be constitutionally applied to law enforcement and creates a legal impossibility.

Jason P. Reese, Canton city prosecutor, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, filed an objection Jan 4 and asked Lewis to deny the motion. 

Reese, in his objection, stated the motion is without merit for two reasons: neither the defendant or the prosecution has presented any facts to determine if dismissal is appropriate and is asking the court to rely on information that is not on the record; and it is not legally impossible for Baker to be charged with voluntary manslaughter because the facts and circumstances limit the scope of an officer’s duty and his ability to use force.

“The defendant has not alleged that there is a defect in the indictment itself of in the institution of the prosecution, such as a defect with the grand jury or a problem wth the charging instrument,” Reese noted. “Defendant’s issue appears to bethat he feels he should not have been charged at all.”

He also noted he is not aware of any case law or statute that would prevent criminal prosecution of the charge due to the fact that Baker says he is a police officer and claims in the motion to have been acting reasonably when using deadly force.

“…there is no record with which the court is able to make a determination as to whether the defendant did so nor are there any facts at this time for the court to consider the circumstances of the encounter with Robert Sikon,” Reese wrote.

Instead, he noted, Baker is asking the court to determine he was a reasonable police officer and had every right to exercise deadly force, and thus he cannot be charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Reese also noted that, just because a person is a police officer, there are limits to his ability to exercise deadly force and does not immediately have license to use deadly force in any scenario in which someone he encounters enrages him.

“The necessity to use deadly force, while largely left to officer perspective, also requires him to assess the circumstances at the time, including consideration of the victim’s behavior,” wrote the prosecutor.

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