June 8, 2023

The defense filed their last per-trial motion to disqualify the states mental health expert in the Steven Wiggins trial that is set to begin the first week of August.

The defense argued that the mental health physician had already started the evaluation without a notice of day or time, which violated Wiggins’ fifth and sixth amendment rights since the attorney wasn’t present. Additionally, the defense argued that they need a note and a right for Wiggins to be mentally and physically prepared before the evaluation and was not given sufficient notice. Finally, the defense added that their concernment of what the state’s physician is practicing if he cannot abide by the ruling of the court.

However, the state defended their position by stating that their mental health physician has been selected since 2019 and will conduct the evaluation in the time frame that Judge Wolfe granted. Additionally, the defense put their expert in a position to cover the interview in two days and we have complied with the Reed Ruling, plus the prosecution cannot talk to the expert because of a confidentially agreement.

The defense then countered the state’s argument by saying that they had every option to do the evaluation with Wiggins with or without the materials and that they’re allowed to talk to their selected physical to schedule a time for him to conduct his evaluation.

Judge Wolfe then gave his ruling on the matter and spoke to both the prosecution and defense about this matter. Wolfe stated that this is a unique situation and it does not violate Wiggins’ fifth and sixth amendment rights, nor does the Reed Ruling indicate a specific time and date, but a reasonable time to conduct the evaluation. Along with this, he stated that the evaluation shouldn’t be a surprise to Wiggins since he’s been in the court room for the past month hearing about the trial quickly approaching.

Judge Wolfe closed his ruling by stating that both the defense and prosecution violated the courts prior ruling. Moreover, the evaluation will be conducted this week during jury selection to make sure the trial date will still begin on schedule.

The trial date for Wiggins’ will begin on August 2nd, after completing jury selection in Knox County this week.

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