CINCINNATI -- "If you give children a command, you don't expect them to obey."
That was defense attorney Stew Mathews' message Thursday morning as he argued that charges against his client, former University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing, should be dismissed.
Mathews said the case should be thrown out because Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters violated a gag order when he spoke to WCPO for a story. His team filed a motion to dismiss shortly after a story was published on WCPO.com Wednesday afternoon.
"My phone started ringing at 2 p.m. Wednesday with people telling me to go see what Deters has done," Mathews said. "I was so incensed that I filed a motion to dismiss."
Mathews filed the motion the evening before prospective jurors arrived at the Hamilton County courthouse to fill out questionnaires. Twelve will ultimately be selected to serve and decide Tensing's fate.
"This was the night before 235 people were to report to the courthouse as prospective jurors," Mathews said. "This is a blatant attempt to try to influence the jury...The jury pool is absolutely poisoned."
Mathews's motion stated Deters had previously been reprimanded for violating the gag order and, given that "the bell cannot be unrung," the only way to mitigate the harm perceived by the defense was to dismiss Tensing's indictment with prejudice.
"He agreed to talk about what is considered in bringing charges," Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said. "He did not try to defy the court order or influence the jury. There is no precedent to dismiss the charges."
Deters, who is not prosecuting the retrial, began the interview by saying he would only speak generally, in light of the gag order.
Two officials from Deters' office oversaw the interview WCPO conducted.