BOISE, Idaho — A former high-ranking lieutenant with the Caldwell Police Department will face a federal jury on Sept. 19, and the court filings are beginning to stack up just before the trial date.
Joseph Hoadley, who was the head of investigations within CPD, was charged with four felony counts earlier this year -- depravation of rights under color of law, destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations, tampering with a witness by harassment and tampering with documents.
He faces up to a total of 70 years in federal prison and a million dollars in fines if convicted.
In a trial brief filed Sept. 12, Hoadley's defense says that he has a concern going forward he will not receive a fair trial due to "nonstop attention by the media" and that there may be a timing issue -- the trial is set for a week, but "it seems likely the case may stretch into a second week under the circumstances here," the brief said.
The government's evidence list to present during trial next week is extensive -- with 91 exhibits that include multiple body camera footage and transcripts of the footage, resignation letters, text messages, emails, ethics codes, police policies, four reports from an iPhone, 12 recorded jail calls and other multiple external complaints. The government's witness list is sealed.
The U.S government has accused Hoadley of having a pattern of "retaliative and abusive use of force" and claims they can present at least five occasions where he was allegedly abusive, assaulted people he was arresting and then later bragged about the incident to other officers. They also allege that after being charged with the first two counts, Hoadley went and wiped his laptop of any evidence.
In a document filed in August, the government alleges Hoadley bragged, laughed and showed a video to multiple fellow officers of him punching a Hispanic man who was handcuffed. Some of the officers reported it to department leaders and the FBI, according to the document. Hoadley was charged amid the FBI investigation.
There are others expected to be charged as well, according to Rex Ingram, the current Caldwell Police Chief, who elaborated on the charges in a press conference.
The first charges allege "without legal justification, used his hand and arm to strike" a man's head and neck area, resulting in bodily injury.
Hoadley then wrote a false record of the incident, according to the indictment, saying the man known as B.H had been trying to escape and that any force used was necessary, and omitted any detail of Hoadley striking B.H.
In a new trial brief filed by Hoadley's defense, it says that when Hoadley grabbed the man, it was in self defense, and that any force Hoadley used when he prevented him from escaping "was reasonable."
"The law does not require an officer to make a perfect decision," the trial brief said. "The law requires she or he act reasonably under the circumstances. That is what Joseph Hoadley did."
The brief states that as Hoadley was only charged with two felony counts at the point that the government alleges he wiped his laptop, he had no reason to believe they would look for any information on his iPhone or computer. CPD had already directed that his city electronics could not be accessed, the brief said, so he couldn't have wiped the laptop like the prosecution claims. He could only access his personal electronics.
Charles Peterson, Hoadley's attorney, originally filed this week to extend the date of the trial because, he said, the government produced an additional 335,000 documents. However, he later withdrew the request -- and instead, asked on Wednesday that the judge prevent testimony from other former officers at trial because the government was late in disclosing their status as a witness.
A judge later filed the judgement on Thursday, where he both granted and denied part of the motion filed by Peterson to stop prosecutors from calling certain witnesses. The government can still call witness referenced in their previous motions.
Hoadley and Peterson's exhibit list -- a list of about 45 pieces of evidence -- includes multiple Department of Justice statements, complaints, disciplinary files, CPD policies, termination notices, resignation emails and audio of body camera footage.
The USA has submitted a proposed voir dire, or questions by the court they would ask during jury selection to eliminate or keep jurors on the panel. It can provide some insight as to what the prosecution is intending to prove.
Some of these questions include,
- Would you tend to believe a police officer more than, less than, or the same as an average person?
- Does the fact that the defendant is a police officer make you think he is less likely to have engaged in illegal activity?
- What role, if any, do you think the federal government should have in investigating and prosecuting police officers accused of using excessive force?
- Some people feel that the police regularly use excessive force. Do you?
Sept. 19, the start of the trial, will likely begin with jury selection that morning and then proceed into opening statements later in the day.
KTVB’s award winning investigative team reports on local, crime, and breaking news across Idaho.