KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Weekday trial dates of April 3-21, with the exception of April 14, have been set for the jury trial of C. Aaron Rovenstine on three counts of bribery, five counts of official misconduct and one count each of intimidation and assisting a criminal. The jury trial was to have begun Tuesday, Feb. 7, but due to a procedural issue filed at the last minute, the trial was continued.
Special Judge Evan S. Roberts, Elkhart Superior Court 1, set the new dates in his order dated Friday, Feb. 10. The order also states that in the event a jury cannot be selected, the location of the trial will be moved, but will commence on or about April 6. Seven of the days scheduled for Rovenstine’s trial, specifically April 11-13 and 18-21, coincide with trial dates for Mark Soto and Kevin Bronson. No word has been received regarding the continuation of that trial.
According to documents filed on the case, Special Deputy Prosecutor Matt Sarber, deputy prosecuting attorney with the Marshall County Prosecutor’s office, filed a motion for an emergency hearing Tuesday afternoon. The motion included multiple attachments including the semi-annual progress report and request for extension of term of appointment pursuant to IC 33-39-20-2 (e), which was filed July 25, 2016. A copy of the approved order from Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed was also included.
Following the emergency hearing, held telephonically, Roberts issued the following order: All pending motions in limine are set for argument at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the courtroom of Elkhart Superior Court No. 1, with all attorneys to appear in person. There are approximately 10 motions in limine, mostly filed by the defense, to be heard.
He also requested Reed to consider withdrawing the “Order denying defendant’s motion to disqualify special prosecutor an extending the term of the special prosecutor’s appointed,” which was issued on Feb. 7, based on documentation presented at the emergency hearing.
Roberts’ order directed the state to file any further requests for extension of the term of the appointment of the special prosecutor, as required by state statute with Reed for the remainder of the case as needed and provided counsel 14 days from Feb. 10 to file any substantive motions. Roberts ordered the court will not entertain any substantive motions filed after that period of time and would not consider any motions filed on the first day of trial.
The order also addresses reimbursement by the defendant for the cost associated with the jury trial on Feb. 7, as well as the state’s oral request for reimbursement of witness travel expenses. The court gave the special prosecutor 14 days to submit a written motion with supporting documentation and upon receipt the court will take the matter under advisement.