Judge: some evidence in Jake’s Fireworks case may be inadmissible – Port Arthur News
Evidence in a case involving a Dutch fireworks stand could be ruled inadmissible, according to a recent order filed by a Federal Court judge.
Thad Heartfield, a U.S. District Court judge, rebuked the prosecution and the defense in the case involving Jake’s Fireworks.
According to documents obtained by Port Arthur NewsmediaHeartfield has ordered that any find be turned over to the defense by Tuesday, otherwise it will be inadmissible.
In the order, Heartfield wrote that the government had “blatantly ignored every discovery deadline.”
Heartfield also wrote that the defense had “sufficient time and opportunity to raise legitimate discovery disputes.”
Discovery is the exchange of evidence between the defense and the prosecution that will be used in a trial. The defendants have until August 16 to turn over evidence to the government. The deadline for filing requests to suppress evidence is August 17.
According to court documents, the defense of Michelle Englade, the United States’ deputy prosecutor, told Heartfield that it would take about six weeks from July 26 for most of the defendants to be discovered. At a recent status conference, Englade said there are around 900,000 pages of evidence that can take two to three weeks to download. Jury selection is expected to begin in September and Englade said the trial would take “at least three weeks”, due to the amount of evidence and 55 witnesses.
During the status hearing, the judge also raised the possibility of administering a gag order so that the case is not “judged in the media”.
On July 15, 2020, law enforcement raided Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals, which is owned by Jake Daughtry and operates from the fireworks store on Twin City Highway near Spurlock Road. In the aftermath of the raid, the US government issued indictments against nine suspects over allegations that Daughtry and the other defendants knowingly distributed 1,4 butanediol for human consumption. The chemical is more commonly referred to as BDO.
Daughtry, along with his parents Joseph Daughtry and Sandra Daughtry, were charged with drug trafficking and money laundering after the raid.
Employees Jordan Lee King, Austin Dial, Tanner Jorgensen; all of Holland; Kip Daughtry, of Vidor, and Jesse Hackett, of The Woodlands, were also arrested and charged. Joshua Wisneant has been arrested in connection with the case.
The government alleges that two deaths in the United States have been attributed to the chemical sold by Right Price Chemicals.