Thursday, August 18, 2011

Schaeffer Cox Case: Judge David Stewart Dismisses Hindering Prosecution Charge Against Rachel Barney; Insufficient Evidence, Wrong Statute

Both the Alaska Dispatch and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner report that a superior court judge has dismissed the charge of hindering prosecution against alleged "co-conspirator" Rachel Barney in the Schaeffer Cox case due to lack of evidence and perhaps charging under the wrong statute.

Judge David Stewart said it is unfair for prosecutors to assume Barney knew about her husband’s plans simply because she is married to him. But even more importantly, Judge Stewart said prosecutors charged Barney under the wrong law. The law under which she was charged addresses being an accessory to a crime after the fact, which requires the state to prove Barney helped Cox, that his crime was a felony, that she helped him after the crime was committed, that she knew about the crime, AND that her aid to Cox was intended to help him avoid prosecution. Judge Stewart suggested prosecutors should have considered charging Barney under a different law which addresses helping someone with an uncompleted crime.

AS 11.56.770 defines Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree. While the media sources did not specify which substitute statute was suggested by Stewart, it would appear that AS 11.31.120, Conspiracy, might be the best fit. Judge Stewart merely dismissed the hindering prosecution charge; he did not bar the state from charging Rachel Barney under a statute pertaining to helping someone with an uncompleted crime.

My master list of federal and state charges against the Schaeffer Cox Six has now been updated to reflect this development.

1 comment:

  1. What is laughable about this decision by "judge" David (now going by "Dave") Stewart is that David (or his alter ego "Dave") knows first hand that one's spouse often is unaware of what he or she is doing. Just ask his wife. Who knew "Dave" was operating under an alter-ego with a second life in Oregon and Washington...for 10 years. And when caught that he would abuse his power to play the victim. Ask "Dave" where he was in March of 2009 and who he was doing...then look at the court record. "Dave" is so sure of himself he not only lies to his "wife"...he lies under oath.