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Sat, Dec. 07

Smith seeks surgery for hernia

KINGMAN - A new delay may be in the works for a Golden Valley man's third trial.

Vincent Iannone, the attorney for Chip Smith, told the court Tuesday that Smith needs an operation for a hernia.

Smith is awaiting his third trial on second-degree murder charges. He is accused of shooting Chris Payton, 30, of Golden Valley in August 2001.

Smith's first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked. He appealed his conviction after his second trial, stating that Judge Richard Weiss mishandled the dismissal of a juror. The Arizona Court of Appeals set aside the 22-year sentence and conviction and ordered a new trial.

Tuesday, Iannone argued a motion asking the court to order the jail to see that his client got the hernia surgery he needed. It took the jail nearly 10 months to get Smith to a hospital for an MRI, he said. And currently, Smith is wearing a belt that is really designed for use by patients after surgery, his attorney said.

"I need Mr. Smith at the top of his game when we go to trial," Iannone said.

"This isn't an issue with the jail. I don't, and Mr. Smith doesn't really care who pays for it."

The County Attorney's Office had no opinion on the matter, said County Attorney Ken Skousen.

Judge Rick Williams denied the motion.

"I think the jail is aware of its obligation to the defendant and that he is entitled to reasonable health care," he said. The jail has taken other defendants into the hospital for other health-care needs and surgeries, he said. Williams did not expect the jail to respond differently to Smith's request.

Iannone also notified the court that his office had received more than a 100 crime scene and autopsy photos that he had never seen before.

"I don't know why they would be given to me now, nearly eight years later," Iannone said. Police reports from the case suggested that there might be other photos that the defense did not have.

"I suppose we should have a hearing about what was sent to the defense," Skousen said. After two trials and several changes of attorneys on both sides, it was hard to know what evidence the defense had and didn't have, he said.

"We have one set of folders," Skousen said. We don't have one folder that's labeled give them this and another folder, don't give them this.

Williams agreed that after so many changes it would be difficult to keep up with who had what evidence. He recommended that the two attorneys get together to share notes on evidence.

"The court will not get involved unless a motion is filed," he said.

He then set the next hearing in the case for July 23.

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