LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Judge Steven Meyer addressed several motions in the Barnett case Tuesday afternoon. As News 18 previously reported, Michael and Kristine Barnett pleaded not guilty to accusations of abandoning their adopted daughter in Lafayette before leaving for Canada. The daughter was a Ukrainian girl with a form of dwarfism.
The first thing Judge Meyer addressed was the use of confidential mental health records by the prosecution and defense. All media and audience members were asked to leave the courtroom as this was discussed. When we were allowed back in, Judge Meyer said the documents will be available for the attorneys to use in their cases. The documents will only be in the possession of the attorneys and will not be made public.
The second motion filed by Michael Barnett's attorney, Terrance Kinnard, is a motion to redact Michael's address from public records regarding this case. This motion was filed with the courst on October 1st.
Kinnard said Michael and his family have been subjected to harassment because his address is public record. He said a man from Spain claiming to be a journalist trespassed multiple times at Michael's home. The man lied about needing to charge his phone to get Michael's 19-year-old step daughter to let him inside the home. He said police had to get involved to remove the man.
Kinnard claimed that another threat had been made via social media against Kristine Barnett.
"I have grave concerns for personal safety," said Kinnard in court. "(Redacting the address) is a small, minute step that doesn't hinder the public."
The state argued that Kinnard had not provided enough clear and convincing evidence that Michael Barnett is threatened simply with his testimony. Michael Barnett was not required to attend Tuesday's session, and he was not there.
Judge Meyers said he had never had a request like this in criminal court. He also realized that there had been no formal hearing filed to address this issue, which is a rule in Indiana law. He decided to make no decision on that motion and suggested scheduling a formal public hearing to address this issue. He recommended that Kinnard bring more substantial evidence to prove a threat.
"I'm somewhat disappointed that Michael wasn't granted to exclude his home address from the public purview," he said. "I think there's enough evidence out there that supports Michael's position."
Kinnard was also hoping to discuss dismissing Michael's two neglect of a dependent charges. He explains why that didn't happen today.
"We were prepared to argue those today however, they were not set for hearing, just for status, so we set that date for the 23rd of next week," he said. That is Wednesday, October 23rd.
The motion to redact Michael's address will also be decided on the 23rd. Kinnard confirmed that Michael and his step daughter will most likely be there to provide more evidence of harassment.
After everything was decided on Michael Barnett's motions, Kristine Barnett's motion to leave the state was addressed. This motion was filed with the court on October 7th. Judge Meyer came to the conclusion that Kristine will be allowed to return to her home in Florida. She and her lawyer, Philip Hayes, were both in the courtroom on Tuesday.
The prosecuting attorneys had no arguments against this request. That's because the rules of bond only prohibit her from changing her permanent address to out-of-state. Since Kristine's permanent address is already in Florida, she is allowed to return.
She does have to give up her passport to the court, and she has to abide by the rest of the terms of her bond. That includes traveling back to Tippecanoe County for all future required court appearances. Judge Meyers also had her sign a waiver of extradition.
The October 23rd hearing will happen at 10:30 a.m. News 18 will be there and will bring you the latest updates on air and online.
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