Judge to rule on admissibility of interview for Martin trial

Cathleen Martin wipes tears from her face as Det. Sgt. Casey Nemeth testifies about an interview he conducted with her while investigating allegations of child sexual abuse. (Pioneer photo/Whitney Gronski-Buffa)

Cathleen Martin wipes tears from her face as Det. Sgt. Casey Nemeth testifies about an interview he conducted with her while investigating allegations of child sexual abuse. (Pioneer photo/Whitney Gronski-Buffa)

BIG RAPIDS — A Mecosta County detective testified in a hearing on Thursday regarding a recorded interview the prosecution hopes to use in the upcoming trial of former Fork Township clerk Cathleen Martin.

Martin, of Barryton, is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with victims to whom she is related and six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with an accomplice. She is also charged with one count of second-degree child abuse.

Former Fork Township Supervisor Jack Bark Sr. is her co-defendant. He is charged with two counts of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct, six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with an accomplice, and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Mecosta County Sheriff’s Det. Sgt. Casey Nemeth took the stand to answer questions about the recorded interview he conducted which took place shortly after midnight on Aug. 7, 2013.

Nemeth said although Martin was not under arrest during the interview, he still read her Miranda Rights to her and she was told she was free to go whenever she wanted.

Martin’s defense attorney, Jim Samuels, argued Martin wanted to end the interview when she stated “I’ve got to go.” However, what Martin said after that phrase is inaudible. Nemeth said he was unsure if she possibly said she wanted to go to the bathroom, but because of the context of their conversation did not take it to mean she wished to stop the interview.

Mecosta County Prosecutor Peter Jaklevic asked Nemeth if Martin showed any body language to indicate she wanted to leave the interview room, to which Nemeth said she did not.

Mecosta County’s 49th Circuit Court Judge Ronald Nichols will determine if the interview with Martin is admissible in her upcoming trial scheduled for April 29. The hearing will continue April 11.

In a hearing prior to Nemeth’s testimony, Nichols heard from the prosecution and defense for Martin and Bark. The hearing set some standards for the upcoming trials of Martin and Bark.

Nichols ruled there would be no testimony to any mental or physical illness unless there was a medical diagnosis. He also stated the defense would be allowed to independently examine information on a telephone and computer which may be submitted for evidence in the trials.

Bark’s trial is scheduled to begin on May 20.

 

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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