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Judge denies motion to adjourn trial

ESCANABA — A motion to adjourn an upcoming criminal sexual conduct trial due to a scheduling conflict with the defendant’s expert witness was denied in Delta County Circuit Court Friday.

Dylan Michael-Patrick McDonough, 19, of Gladstone, is charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct – first degree. The charge stems from an alleged incident on June 13, 2017, in Gladstone. Another teen is also facing charges from this incident — Hunter Grizz Gallagher, 18, of Gladstone.

Gallagher is charged with criminal sexual conduct – first degree and criminal sexual conduct – third degree. He is also facing criminal sexual conduct charges in another case with two other codefendants — Tanner James-Arthur Cannon, 17, of Gladstone, and James Michael Greenlund, 19, of Rapid River.

Dickinson County Circuit Court Judge Mary Barglind presided over Friday’s hearing.

“I understand the importance of that witness to Mr. McDonough’s case and the problems here and the importance of wanting to have a witness in person. But there are other methods to get him here and when I balance those things out with the speedy trial issues,” Barglind said. “The fact that this case is consolidated, Mr. McDonough is not in custody, but it’s consolidated with Mr. Gallagher’s case and he is in custody — his time on the 180 days has already run. Thinking before I found another eight days, even if I bumped any of my cases that weren’t bumping up against the 180 days and bumped them down, I’m thinking we would still be out a couple months before we could find a trial date. I just think all of those things taken into consideration, I’m going to deny the request for an adjournment.”

Sarah Henderson, McDonough’s attorney, filed the motion to adjourn the trial as a key expert witness for the defense had a scheduling conflict.

She explained Dr. Jeffrey Wendt, a forensic psychologist from Lansing, will be a key expert in regards to determining whether or not McDonough’s incriminating statement to a Michigan State Police trooper is reliable and if it should be considered as truth to the jury.

Wendt will be on vacation at the time of the trial and will be unable to appear through a video conference call.

Henderson said Wendt would be able to give his testimony through a phone, however, she described telephone testimonies as inferior to in-person testimony.

“So I’m constrained to continue to ask the court for an adjournment so that I can get Dr. Wendt here in person. I understand the concerns in making sure that this trial is timely held, I understand that the crime victim’s rights act provides some rights to the complainant in this case as well. But Mr. McDonough is charged with a very serious set of crimes, he is presumed innocent and he has a right to present a vigorous defense under the Sixth Amendment,” she said.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej argued that adjourning the trial would put a paid expert’s vacation over the rights and interest of the victim. He also noted it would be extremely difficult to schedule another eight-day trial considering everyone involved.

Barglind denied the motion noting Wendt could appear through a phone video call or provide a video deposition. The eight-day dual jury trial will begin on July 29.

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