KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Contemplating five witnesses may invoke the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the prosecution in the C. Aaron Rovenstine case has been granted use of immunity for these witnesses.
E. Nelson Chipman, Jr., special prosecutor, and his deputy prosecutor, Tami Napier, filed motions with Special Judge Evan S. Roberts Tuesday, Jan. 10, seeking the use of immunity for William “Rocky” Goshert, Joseph “Frank” Courtois, Joe Mooney, Mark Soto and Kevin Bronson. The motion states these individuals may invoke their privilege against self-incrimination during testimony at a deposition or at the trial.
The order signed by Roberts states any evidence given by these witnesses or any evidence derived from the evidence may not be used in any criminal proceedings against them, unless the evidence is volunteered by the witness or is not responsive to a question by the prosecution, except for a prosecution for perjury.
Also filed was the state’s notice of compliance to supplemental discovery — supplemental reports from the Indiana State Police.
The defense, as requested by Roberts, filed an eight page memorandum in support of their motion for in limine — a motion certain evidence not be introduced in trial — as to evidence regarding conversations between David Baker and Kevin Bronson. The memorandum includes statement of the facts and legal arguments.
Documents note Baker has been listed as a state witness. A licensed attorney in Ohio, in good standing, Baker represented Bronson as part of Bronson’s purported movie/book deal. Because Baker performed legal work for Bronson, their relationship was one cloaked in privilege.
On March 20, 2015, at 8:15 a.m. Warsaw Police detectives contacted Baker as part of their investigation of Bronson. Officers recorded the initial conversation without the knowledge of Baker. The conversation revolved around Baker’s relationship with Bronson. The defense counsel notes the initial recorded conversation by WPD was while Baker was located in California, which is subject to the two party consent law of that state. The defense notes the conversation was obtained in violation of the law and is tainted as fruit of the poisonous tree.
Documents also note during the conversation WPD convinces Baker he was not bound by the attorney-client privilege and engaged him to have a recorded conversation with Bronson, without Bronson’s knowledge or permission. Those recorded conversations occurred while Bronson was at the Kosciusko County Jail and calling Baker. Defense counsel notes the two had an attorney-client relationship and any conversations between the two are subject to the protection of the attorney-client privilege. There is no waiver of privilege provided during the discovery process and no warrant was requested to obtain these recordings.
The legal arguments are that: Warsaw Police Department violated California’s two-party law; Baker unlawfully recorded conversations with Bronson; investigators are never justified in eavesdropping on an inmate’s communication with counsel; and Indiana Rules of Evidence prohibits using conversations protected by attorney-client privilege as evidence without giving the client opportunity to claim the privilege.
The legal arguments site California case law, Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.6, Indiana case law, and Indiana Rule of Evidence 501.
The defense’s filing occurred Friday, Jan. 13. The state will now have seven days to file its arguments before Roberts takes any action.