Jason Griffey was a no show for his competency hearing on Friday in Bell Circuit Court.
According to court records, when officer Leon Wilson of the Bell County Sheriff’s Office arrived to pick Griffey up, he was advised that Griffey “didn’t feel like coming over”.
Mike Ingram (Griffey’s attorney) said he would need to get something in writing that states Griffey would not be attending the competency hearing.
“It’s certainly his right not to show up,” said Ingram. “We all have a right, if we are charged with a crime, to appear at a hearing. We technically don’t have to show up.”
Ingram had not spoken with Griffey prior to his decision to refuse to appear. Ingram said he first found out about Griffey’s decision at 10:15 a.m. The hearing was scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m.
According to Ingram, this is the first time in over 3,500 criminal cases that a defendant has refused to show up for their hearing. “This is the first time I have seen it,” he said.
Ingram said he does plan on speaking with Griffey about the decision, but continued to state that Griffey has the right to not appear.
“(The hearing) is not something where (Griffey) would be testifying,” said Ingram.
The competency hearing was scheduled after Griffey returned from the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center (KCPC), where he received several psychiatric test. During the competency hearing, Dr. Steven Sparks from the KCPC will testify on whether Griffey is competent enough to understand the proceedings against him at the current time.
Sparks was available to testify at Friday’s hearing.The hearing will be scheduled for a later date, pending the doctor’s schedule.
Griffey was indicted on 11 counts of first-degree sodomy, seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse and nine counts of first-degree criminal attempt to commit sexual abuse. All of the alleged victims in the case are boys under the age of 12.
Griffey was originally arrested on Oct. 14, 2011, for just the 11 counts of sodomy. He was charged with sexual abuse and criminal attempt to commit sexual abuse following investigation. Officer Josh Pratt of the Middlesboro Police Department was the arresting officer.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.