DeCastro has a preliminary hearing – The Tribune
YouTuber Jose DeCastro, who goes by the name Chille DeCastro, was in Ironton City Court on Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing.
DeCastro faces three misdemeanor charges for failing to leave downtown Ironton on March 29 after the building was closed.
He was livestreaming on his YouTube channel inviting everyone to come to the center for his constitutional law class and was told five times that the building closed at 5 p.m., police said. At around 4:50 p.m., DeCastro said it was now a peaceful protest because the city would not be renting the lobby of the building to him.
At approximately 5:05 p.m., Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner told DeCastro to leave the building or be arrested. He was arrested and charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor for disorderly conduct, a second degree misdemeanor for resisting arrest, and a fourth degree criminal trespass.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was arraigned on March 31.
The preliminary hearing began with Judge Kevin Waldo asking Assistant District Attorney Philip Heald if they had consulted DeCastro, who is representing himself, about the case. Heald said no.
Waldo then asked DeCastro if he was interested in changing his not-guilty plea and DeCastro said he had not received an “instrument of indictment” from the DA’s office and said his plea was not. was no longer valid.
“You must give me a charging instrument before I can be properly charged under Ohio State Code Article 1, Section 10,” DeCastro said. He was apparently referring to Article 1, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution which deals with trials and witnesses and reads in part as follows: “In any trial, before any court, the accused party shall be permitted to appear and to defend himself in person and with an attorney; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation brought against him, and to have a copy thereof.
Waldo reminded DeCastro that he was arraigned on March 31 and a summons was issued at that time.
DeCastro reiterated that he never received the charges against him.
“Court records indicate you received a summons,” Waldo said.
Heald said it was common for the defendant to be given a copy of the charges at arraignment, “so I’m guessing he did, if it follows normal procedures.”
At his March 31 arraignment, DeCastro reserved his right to a jury trial and reserved all of his rights under Ohio law and the Ohio Constitution and effectively pleaded not guilty to the three counts.
DeCastro insisted he had not received a summons, so copies of the charges were printed for him.
DeCastro also said he did not get any finds, which is the evidence the state has.
Waldo said no discovery motion has been filed by either party.
DeCastro said he did not receive the transcript of the last hearing, although he paid for it.
Waldo said these had been ready since April 4 and his office had called him to say they were available. DeCastro pointed out that police seized his phone as evidence and he was unable to answer it.
“We’re calling the phone number provided,” Waldo said.
Waldo got the hearing back on track and asked Heald if he had any motions.
Heald requested a change to DeCastro’s bond in that he would not come within 100 feet of any of the witnesses in the case and not have contact with them unless they accept a meeting. This included Ironton Police Chief Pam Wagner, the arresting officer, officers who were at the scene, Ironton Mayor Sam Cramblit and his assistant and attorney Warren Morford and his staff who have an office on the first floor downtown.
“They are witnesses and Mr. DeCastro is representing himself, but he has no right to force them to speak to him. He has the right to ask them, but it will be on their terms, not in a harassing way, not in a public way with them being interviewed on the World Wide Web,” Heald said.
DeCastro objected and said it would interfere with his journalism.
“It leaves such wide latitude open that you could interpret harassment or annoyance, or what people say all the time in court, a nuisance. You can define a nuisance any way you want, all you want to say is a nuisance and it could make me a criminal and I completely oppose that,” DeCastro said. “Absolutely not. Sorry. I didn’t harass anyone.
DeCastro argued that the witnesses are public officials and that he had the First Amendment right to record and engage in conversation and dialogue, and even to interrupt public officials in their official capacity at any time that he chooses within the framework of his constitutional rights.
“What he’s trying to do is get me accused of being a nuisance to these people when I’m going to keep recording them. As a journalist, I have this right.
Waldo said DeCastro had rights as a citizen of the United States under the constitution. He also pointed out that DeCastro had been charged with three alleged crimes and that the people mentioned were all potential witnesses and “your attitude, your behavior and the normal procedure that you have employed in the time you have been in Ironton and Lawrence County , Ohio, is to film and speak with certain people who reside in that community. What you have done in the past 30 days or so is within your constitutional rights, under certain implications. The people mentioned are now witnesses and you are a defendant in the case that has been filed.There are proper procedures, as Mr. Heald said, by which you can discuss all the facts and circumstances in the allegations that have been brought against you.
Waldo said as the trier of fact and law in this case, there were proper procedures to follow. He said he would make sure the witnesses spoke to DeCastro if he set up appointments with them.
“But until then, I don’t want you walking around in any way, shape or form, around these people because it could be construed as intimidation,” the judge said. . “And I preserve those rights for you more than anyone else.”
DeCastro asked that the record reflect that the judge was biased.
“He is the target of my journalism investigation. I think you should recuse yourself immediately. You are biased. I won’t stop recording the police, I won’t stop recording Pam Wagner. I’m not discussing the matter with them,” DeCastro said. “You should recuse yourself.”
In the end, Waldo made it part of DeCastro’s bond that he should stay at least 100 feet away from witnesses unless there was a scheduled meeting with them.
“I oppose it,” DeCastro said.
“I don’t care if you object,” Waldo replied. “Your objection is noted for the record.”
DeCastro called it a “travesty of justice” and “disgusting.”
DeCastro said he would immediately file a motion to disqualify Waldo.
“Very well,” Waldo said.
Another preliminary hearing has been set for May 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Before the hearing ended, Wagner told Waldo she had DeCastro’s phone to return.
“It’s not in court,” Waldo said. “He’s been available to him for about a month. If you want to hand it to him as he leaves the field, that’s fine.
After the hearing was over, Wagner returned DeCastro’s phone and had him sign it.