Contempt ruling adds to legal woes for Adewumi

lfalce@centredaily.comJune 24, 2014 

— A Lemont man heading to trial this week went into court for hearings on motions and left with a $500 fine for contempt Tuesday.

David Adewumi, 26, had a list of 35 motions to be heard by Centre County Judge Jonathan D. Grine just two days before his trial, scheduled for Thursday on charges he falsely reported being sexually assaulted by corrections officers at Centre County Correctional Facility.

The hearing started out contentiously as Adewumi, who represented himself, sparred with Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob, who made frequent objections to the defendant’s arguments — procedurally and on the grounds that they deviated from the point of the hearing.

Adewumi’s larger legal problems involve a stalking charge against a State College Area High School student and institutional vandalism while in custody at the county prison, and his discussion sometimes wandered from one case into the others.

“No offense, man, but you kind of ramble,” Grine told him at one point.

Boob and Adewumi sparred over attempts to have prosecution evidence, including video and Adewumi’s jailhouse letters, barred; over whether “indecently touched” means “sexually touched”; over Adewumi’s assertions that it was improper to expect the jail employees to aid an investigation that could implicate them, and more.

Boob won most of the battles. Few of the defense’s proposed witnesses were allowed, with Grine quashing subpoenas for a variety of people, including Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, who Adewumi said he wanted to question regarding his allegations of “prosecutorial vindictiveness.”

Renewed petitions for change of venue and venire, as the defendant looked to move the trial to Dauphin, Allegheny or Philadelphia counties, were struck down. All of the prosecution’s evidence will be allowed. Bail, which stands at $50,000 for each case, was denied again.

Grine granted Adewumi’s motion to consolidate the institutional vandalism charge with the false reports, hearing both at trial Thursday. Boob did not object, saying the original separation motion was filed by previous defense counsel.

But Adewumi was cited for contempt after making inappropriate comments toward Boob.

Adewumi took exception to the prosecutor’s motion to prevent references to the grading and punishment for the offenses. All four of the false report charges, as well as the vandalism, are misdemeanors.

Adewumi protested the motion, saying the jury had a right to know that the District Attorney’s Office was “wasting time with nonsensical charges,” then followed up by needling Boob.

“I thought we had a real DA but I guess we have a Lance Marshall,” Adewumi said, referring to a former Centre County assistant district attorney who experienced his own legal problems.

He said it again minutes later when Boob asked that the defense not mention the original stalking case, deliberately calling the ADA “Lance Marshall” again. Grine warned him that one more slip would be a contempt charge.

Less than five minutes later, Adewumi did it again and Grine replied with a $500 fine.

The judge took one matter under advisement, agreeing to review the transcripts of the preliminary hearing and rule on whether the prosecution had met the burden of proof to advance to trial at that time.

If not, Thursday’s trial will not happen, but Grine laid the groundwork for the proceedings to take place.

“Mr. Adewumi may not agree with the decisions I’ve made, but those are the decisions I’ve made,” he said, warning the parties that anyone who does not comply will be admonished in front of the jury.

A one-day trial is planned. Boob said he thought that schedule would be kept.

Lori Falce can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @LoriFalce.

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