Below is an up to date history of the criminal case against University of Montana Grizzly football quarterback Jordan Johnson:
March 9, 2012. An undisclosed female filed a Petition in the Missoula Municipal Court to have a restraining order placed against Jordan Johnson following an alleged sexual assault. The affidavit filed by the woman alleged that the incident had happened the month prior, around February 4. That Petition was dismissed and in its place the judge issued a civil no-contact order that essentially forbids the two from any contact.
No criminal charges had been filed against Johnson at that time, and following the issuing of the no-contact order Johnson was allowed to return to the football team and practice.
July 31, 2012. Deputy County Attorney Suzy Boylan filed a criminal Information Number DC-12-352 in the Missoula District Court charging Jordan Johnson with one (1) count of sexual intercourse without consent, commonly referred to as rape, almost six (6) months after the alleged incident. Twenty-two witnesses were listed by the State as potential witnesses at trial, including the unnamed alleged female victim referred to in the paperwork as “Jane Doe.” This charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence, if convicted, of 2-4 years imprisonment and up to 100 years imprisonment as well as the requirement to register as a sexual offender for life. Former Deputy County Attorney, and now District Court Judge Karen Townsend was assigned to the case.
August 7, 2012. Former Deputy County Attorney Kirsten Pabst filed a notice of appearance as co-attorney of record for Johnson in addition to attorney David Paoli. Attorney Pabst had recently left the Missoula County Attorney’s office to begin private practice as a criminal defense attorney. On this same date the Johnson defense team filed a 19 page Motion to dismiss the criminal charges and held the in-court arraignment for Johnson before Judge Townsend. Johnson pled “not guilty” to the charge and was released with bail conditions until the matter has been concluded. In the defense Motion to dismiss the criminal charge, attorneys for Johnson allege that the County Attorney’s office failed to have probable cause of the crime, the legal requirement to charge him. In their Brief to the Court the defense allege that in her affidavit to the Court, attorney Boylan intentionally mislead the Court with her version of facts recited in the paperwork. The defense went on to allege that much more evidence exists that casts doubt on the charge and surrounding circumstances of the allegation, and that information was purposely left out of the charging affidavit. The defense argued that because of this misleading version of the facts, probable cause does not exist within the paperwork to maintain charges against Johnson.
August 20, 2012. The Johnson defense team filed a Motion to compel discovery with the Court. A Motion to compel requests the Court order a party in an action to produce something by a certain date, and if not produced by that date, things such as evidence could be excluded from a trial. This Motion alleges that the state has failed to turn over all the evidence in the criminal case against Johnson. Specifically, the defense argued that numerous interviews had been requested to be completed by the defense, as well as production of the transcripts of past interviews of multiple witnesses taken by law enforcement. The Defense also lists numerous text message records that must be produced by multiple witnesses in regard to the case. The Defense alleged that if the County Attorney’s Office cannot produce all of the relevant information in a timely manner, that the case should be dismissed.
August 21, 2012. The State filed a 20 page response brief to the Johnson Motion to dismiss charge which had alleging no probable cause. The Brief addressed several issues, specifically regarding the allegation that the County Attorney’s Office was making an example of the case due to a Federal investigation by the FBI into the County Attorney’s office procedures in discretion in prosecuting sexual offense cases. In their reply, the County Attorney’s office states that such an allegation is “speculation at best.” The brief went on to argue that the County Attorney’s office need not file a charging document that contains every shred of evidence against an accused, and that their burden before the Court is to simply make an allegation of criminal conduct supported by probable cause, and not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at that point. Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt they say, is left to the jury during a jury trial. The State’s brief goes on to state that the County Attorney’s Office has prosecutorial discretion to charge crimes they believe are supported by probable cause, and that the standard procedures were followed in this case.
August 30, 2012. The State filed numerous records under seal (away from public view) with the judge in a request for an in camera review (review by the judge). The State supplied over 36,000 test messages sent and received by the alleged victim’s phone surrounding the date in question. The purpose of the motion was to allow the judge to view the messages, some were redacted so that some information contained within the message was not readable, was to allow the Court to decide what was relevant to the case and must be disclosed to the defense. The State indicated that they did not want to release all the messages to the defense. In particular the State argued that any evidence of flirting by the alleged victim or evidence of alcohol intoxication by her would be inadmissible at trial, so messages indicating that should not be disclosed.
August 30, 2012. The State filed a response Brief to the defense motion to compel production of the evidence. The State argued that the discovery or evidence disclosure process is ongoing but there is so much information to be transferred to the defense, that it will take some time. The State asserted that they were in compliance with their legal duties in turning over evidence. The State also argued that until the court ruled on the text messages under seal, they would not be produced without court order.
August 31, 2012. Defense filed a motion for clarification of the Defendant’s travel restrictions. This simply wants the Court to clarify if the Defendant is free to travel throughout certain counties and the state of Montana.
August 31, 2012. Defense filed a 16 page Reply Brief in regard to their own Motion to Dismiss. This Brief addresses the State’s Response Brief to the Motion that was filed on August 21, 2012. The defense argued that the State did not address certain legal arguments contained in the Motion and instead broadly relied on their prosecutorial discretion. The defense further argued again that because the State intentionally left out exonerating facts, such as specific text messages by the alleged victim sent to several individuals, including Jordan Johnson, that the affidavit supporting the charges does not contain probable cause to support the charge.
September 4, 2012. The Court held an Omnibus Hearing in which pre-trial issues were heard. The Defense continued to seek discovery of evidence in the case that had not been produced at that time. The Court took the evidence filed under seal into consideration and reserved rulings on all motions at this time.
September 4, 2012. The Court issued its order on the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for failure to provide discovery. The Court ruled the defense motion denied as the production of evidence in the case requires more time than the defense is suggesting. The Court also agreed to review the 36,000 confidential text messages under seal to determine how many must be disclosed to the defense as evidence in the case.
September 5, 2012. The Court issued its order on the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for leaving out facts in the charging documents. The Court ruled that the Information filed contained enough facts to meet the legal threshold of probable cause, regardless of additional facts submitted by the defense. The order goes on to state that the defense failed to present legal precedent to support other allegations such as professional misconduct by the prosecutor and due process rights to support dismissal. The motion to dismiss on these grounds was denied.
September 18, 2012. The State filed their Brief on the issue of filing evidence under seal versus producing it to the defense as well as evidence including the 36,000 some text messages under seal for the court to review. This means that the filings and evidence are not open to public view and the Judge will issue a public order on the issue when the matter is fully briefed.
October 4, 2012. The Court issued an Order setting the final status hearing of the case for January 15, 1013 and set the jury trial to begin February 8, 2013. Eleven days have been reserved for this jury trial and one half has been given to each side to present their case.
October 5, 2012. Attorney Joel Thompson filed a notice of appearance as co-counsel for the State of Montana. Mr. Thompson is a prosecutor with the Montana Attorney General’s office and will be providing assistance to the prosecution team that is being assembled for the case.
October 9, 2012. State filed a reply brief to the Defendants response brief regarding the sealed text messages the court is reviewing.
October 12, 2012. State filed a brief regarding the defense discovery requests. This brief was filed under seal, so it is not available for public view.
October 17, 2012. Defendant filed a Motion to modify release conditions requesting Mr. Johnson be allowed to travel to Oregon for the holidays. This request was granted by the Court.
November 16, 2012. State filed notice of expert witnesses. David Lisak Ph.D. who will testify about general victim behavior after a rape.
November 16, 2012. State filed responses to various discovery issues under seal.
November 21, 2012. Order from the Judge regarding text messages. Judge reasons that the Defendant admits to having sex with the alleged victim but says it was consensual, so the issue is if any texts relate to those trial issues. Also, in Montana the Judge determined that there is a right to privacy in text messages and her review of all of the texts does not have any exculpatory (helpful to the defendant) information, so defendants request to have all text messages turned over to them is denied. The Defense was provided some text messages with some redactions, but the vast majority of the 29,000 will not be turned over by the State.
November 28, 2012. Defendant files their trial witness list. A total of 35 witnesses are listed.
December 11, 2012. Status hearing before the Court. 400 potential jurors will be selected to serve jury duty for trial. Selection to start February 8, 2013.
January 4, 2013. Defendant files a second Motion to dismiss under seal.
January 9, 2013. Defendant files their Notice of expert witnesses with the court under seal.
January 11, 2013. Defendant files their list of good character witnesses who may testify at trial, under seal.
January 15, 2013. Court holds the Final Status Hearing. All parties state they are ready for trial despite several issues remaining unresolved before trial.
January 18, 2013. Judge Orders that all further Motions and Orders in the case will be filed under seal, and away from public view.
February 8, 2013. Jury trial begins. Hundreds of potential jurors are questioned as voir dire begins. This process removes potential jurors that may have a bias or knowledge of the case. As of the end of the day, the final 12 jurors and some alternate jurors had not yet been selected. Alternate jurors are often necessary for longer trials in the event one or more of the 12 actual jurors cannot complete their service. At that point,the alternate juror replaces any original juror. Completion of voir dire and opening statements in the criminal case are expected to begin Monday, February 11.
February 11, 2013. The final jury was seated, and opening statement were given in addition to the State’s first witnesses being called.
February 13, 2013. The woman accusing Jordan Johnson of raping her took the stand late Monday, and is expected to be questioned throughout today. The prosecution ended their direct questioning of the woman, and defense attorney David Paoli began cross examining the accuser.
February 14, 2013. Cross examination of the accuser ended early in the morning session. The State called an expert witness in rape victim psychology.
February 15, 2013. Several prosecution witnesses were called including a First Step nurse, her supervisor, Brian O’Day and others. Trail will resume February 20.
March 1, 2013. All 12 jurors find Johnson Not Guilty on the charge of sexual intercourse without consent.
Judnich Law Office is not affiliated with the Jordan Johnson case and is only updating public information. The Judnich Law Office emphasizes legal practice in the area of criminal defense law and personal injury in Missoula. Marty and Vinnie are licensed to practice in any court in the State of Montana. Marty is also admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. No matter what your criminal defense need is, the the lawyers at Judnich Law Office can help you.
So what areas of law are considered criminal defense? Any criminal case where someone has been issued a ticket, or arrested by law enforcement is considered criminal law. From speeding tickets to deliberate homicide, each case is different and requires personal attention. Drug cases and sentence revocations are particularly tricky cases and require an attorney that has dealt with the issues that come up in these cases. Experience is vital to receiving a positive result because it is your life and liberty on the line. These days, drug cases and DUI cases are becoming more and more complex. Search and seizure laws change every day, and with issues surrounding the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, the legal issues that result in positive results for the accused grow.
Marty Judnich is a former prosecutor in the State of Montana, and in that role tried hundreds of DUI, assault, drug and other cases in addition to a deliberate homicide case. With that experience Marty now focuses on defending the rights of those accused and uses his negotiation and trial skills to obtain successful results for his clients. This experience allows the Judnich Law Office to understand the position of prosecutors as well as effectively negotiate with them. If you have been accused of a crime or the police are contacting you in an attempt to speak with you, your best move is to contact an experienced attorney and have them walk you through the steps to protect your rights and save you from costly mistakes.