A man who has been in jail awaiting trial for nearly two years was released on his own recognizance after his trial was continued.
Robert Vieth Wilson, 65, appeared in Douglas County District Court on Monday afternoon for a pre-trial conference with attorney John Malone.
Wilson’s trial was scheduled to start on Aug. 31, but Malone said he hadn’t received discovery from the prosecution that he required.
Among those items are the criminal record and confidential informant contract for the man who allegedly purchased drugs from Wilson in August and September 2019.
Malone said those items were required so he could defend his client.
Wilson was arrested on Oct. 16, 2019, after a search of his home allegedly revealed 5 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, 7 pounds of marijuana and what investigators described as THC extraction lab.
Malone said the Douglas County Street Enforcement Team targeted Wilson and sent a man with a long record of felonies to conduct supervised purchaes from him.
The informant was convicted on a charge of ex-felon in possession of a firearm after a March 2019 arrest. He admitted the charge in exchange for a recommendation for probation, which he received.
However, he absconded from probation and his probation was revoked. He is currently serving 18-60 months in prison.
Prosecutor A.J. Hames told District Judge Tom Gregory he recognized that the defense had a right to the items, but that he was holding them back until 30 days before trial in order to protect the informant’s identity.
“We’re not trying to hide anything,” Hames said. “The state has a duty to protect the witness.”
Gregory found that there was a discovery violation, pointing out that Hames could have filed a motion to protect the informant’s identity or submitted the criminal history and contract to him where he could determine if it was admissible.
Malone said the issue wasn’t just that the informant had a lengthy criminal history, but that it could demonstrate to the jury the judgment investigators showed in selecting confidential informants.
Gregory ordered Hames to turn over the documents within a week and reset the five-day jury trial to Oct. 19, which was the date set for a second trial for Wilson for battery by a prisoner. Malone pointed out that accusation would never have been brought had Wilson been free the entire time.
Wilson was released on his own recognizance under supervision by the Department of Alternative Sentencing.
Malone is Wilson’s third attorney over the course of the case.
Wilson is facing multiple counts of felony drug trafficking, any one of which could result in a life sentence.
Wilson is a long-time resident of Johnson Lane, having lived in the same North Valley home for 27 years.
The Record-Courier is not naming the informant. The newspaper previously reported on his arrest, conviction and sentencing.