Trial Set For Man Who Withdrew Guilty Pleas in Sexual Assault Case

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Joseph Buffey has agreed to waive his right to a jury trial and will instead have a bench trial this October. 

Harrison County Circuit Judge John Marks also has ruled that all the charges in two indictments returned against Buffey in January of 2002 will stand.

That denied a request by Buffey’s lawyers to dismiss all of the charges except for the three, two counts of first-degree sexual assault, and one count of first-degree robbery.

During the motions hearing today the defense and prosecution have decided the alleged 98-year-old victim won’t be available to testify.

Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled Buffey would be permitted to withdraw his guilty pleas to sexual assault and robbery.

The state, the justices decided, had a duty that it failed to meet when it didn’t disclose potentially exculpatory DNA test results to Buffey before his guilty pleas were accepted and he was sentenced on May 21, 2002.

Buffey was released from prison after spending close to 15 years behind bars. 

Marks took over the case after Bedell recused himself earlier this year.

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