By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Asecond arraignment hearing was held in the case of Benjamin Cody Long on Wednesday, March 11 at 2 p.m.
Tribal prosecutors brought seven new charges to the case, all of which are the same offense at different dates. The charges state that Long allegedly misused tribal property by appropriating the Microsoft Azure account of the Tribal Network.
Brent Smith, who Long has retained as his attorney going forward, said that his client would plead not guilty to each of these seven charges.
Specifics of each of these charges will be offered once more information is provided from the Cherokee Tribal Court.
Separately, these charges would hold a maximum sentence of three years and a $15,000 fine. However, the maximum sentencing for Long for all these charges would be nine years with the same fine.
Smith continued by presenting four motions to the court, all of which were denied.
The defendant’s attorney did not agree with the language used in the new charges, saying that they simply allege a logon to the account and that ‘appropriating’ the account was extreme. The judge said that he would deny this motion at this time.
Smith’s second motion was to receive a preliminary hearing or a probable-cause hearing before the trial date in April. He said that if this case was being heard in a state court case – he specifically used Court District 30 as an example – then his client would have this request granted. The tribal prosecutors answered by saying that Tribal Court does not have a mechanism or procedure for hearings of this sort, and therefore wished for the motion to be denied. The judge then overruled the motion.
Next, Smith moved to have a peremptory trial date of April 27. A peremptory date means that the trial would continue to that date without any more chance to postpone the trial. The attorney cited his client’s right to a speedy trial, and with no apparent need for a preliminary trial he wished to have a solidified date. The judge said that he would have to deny the motion at this point and maintain the pretrial date for April 7.
Finally, the defendant’s attorney requested a secured bond for his client. He once again used District 30 has an example, stating that the maximum Long would receive is a $20,000 secured bond. Smith said that given Long has a clean criminal history, he was hoping for a $10,000 secured bond. Tribal prosecutors stated the it is procedure to detain someone with new charges for at least 10 days. The judge said that he could not grant bond at this time, maintaining Long’s detained status.
The final decision made was to add the seven charges to a hearing on March 25, at which time the two initial charges in the case will also be heard. As the judge stated, the pretrial date for April 7 has also been maintained.