Cloquet attorney to represent MSOP clients who attempted escapeFour patients who attempted escape from the Minnesota Sexual Offender Program (MSOP) in Moose Lake on June 19 have at last been appointed an attorney, Terri Ann Port Wright.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Four patients who attempted escape from the Minnesota Sexual Offender Program (MSOP) in Moose Lake on June 19 have at last been appointed an attorney, Terri Ann Port Wright.
Lloyd Anthony Hartleib, 42; Russell Lynn Norton, 42; Christopher Loyd Ivey, 39; and Steven Allan Housman, 55, are charged with one felony count each of escape from custody, with maximum sentencing guidelines of five years and/or $10,000.
All four have been imprisoned at the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center since the attempted escape, when they were caught trying to scale the fences of the secure facility in Moose Lake. At that time, MSOP Special Investigator Jamie Jungers determined that all four men had earlier concocted an elaborate escape scheme that involved jimmying the facility door leading from the interior of the facility out to the courtyard area in order to prohibit staff from immediately apprehending them when they ran from the interior to the courtyard.
At their last appearance in July, Sixth District Chief Public Defender Fred Friedman informed Judge Dale Wolf that since his office was unable to take on the additional cases at this time, he had been in contact with State Public Defender John Stuart, who indicated the state of Minnesota would come up with the money required to hire a lawyer to represent all four of the men.
Enter Cloquet attorney Port Wright, who requested Friday in Carlton County Court that the scheduled omnibus hearing be continued to give her more time to meet with her new clients.
At the same time, however, Ivey also requested to represent himself rather than be represented by Port Wright. Judge Wolf informed Ivey that, while he has the right to represent himself and discharge the public defender appointed him, it is not a step to be taken lightly.
Wolf told Ivey he was going to have to follow the set procedure, adding that he was giving Ivey a petition he could fill out with assistance (if needed) at the law enforcement center and that Ivey could only proceed with waiving his right to an attorney after more consultation. Ivey was allowed to waive counsel Wednesday morning, Sept. 1.
In an interesting twist, Ivey had to prove he was sane before he can waive counsel; however, Port Wright informed the court Friday that she may file a motion for a Rule 20 for the other three attempted escapees, which essentially states that a defendant is either not mentally competent to consult with his or her attorney or that his defense for committing the crime is that he is mentally ill.
Before filing the request, Port Wright said she needs to read through psychological evaluations which she has requested from the MSOP; she does not know which type of Rule 20 she would ask for until then.
All four men requested that bail be reduced from $50,000 each to zero and to be transferred back to MSOP: Ivey because he said he needs better access to legal materials to represent himself than the jail offers; the other three because they are concerned about their ability to access their personal items and worried MSOP officials will dispose of them.
“Given the fact that it was an escape attempt [that landed them in court], I don’t feel comfortable agreeing that they are not a risk to the general public,” said Dennis Genereau, assistant Carlton County attorney.
The four remain in the Carlton County law enforcement center.
The omnibus hearing for Hartleib, Norton and Housman and a separate omnibus hearing for Ivey were continued until 3 p.m. Sept. 29.