Judge denies motion to suppress, texts allowed in Sarah Jones trial

Judge denies motion to suppress, texts allowed in Sarah Jones trial
Published: Oct. 2, 2012 at 6:03 PM EDT|Updated: Dec. 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM EST
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Sarah Jones (Source: Kenton County Detention Center)
Sarah Jones (Source: Kenton County Detention Center)

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - A Kenton County judge has denied a motion to suppress in the Sarah Jones case, meaning text messages from Jones will be allowed during her trial.

In the six page order, Judge Patricia Summe cites case law, writes that the teen's memory of a close relationship with the judge was not credible, and says even if Judge Ken Easterling knew the victim that might not necessarily disqualify him from signing the warrant.

The judge writes:

"The defense asks the court to test the memory and credibility of a busy parent with that of a teenage boy whose anxiety on the stand clearly indicated he does not want his text messages released and whose language expressing surprise that the judge was the one who signed for the warrants that 'I thought he'd be neutral to the case' parrots the terms of the defense."

"In my opinion [Judge Patricia Summe's] not going to do anything that's going to harm [Ken Easterling]," defense attorney Eric Deters said Tuesday.

Since Deters would be expected to take issue with the order that denied his motion to suppress, FOX19 reached out to legal analyst Mike Allen who previously served as a judge.

"I don't want to speculate, but one could speculate that this is one judge covering for another judge," Allen said. "This does not pass the smell test. It simply doesn't."

Allen believes judge Ken Easterling was not 'neutral and detached' when he signed the warrant to get the text messages.

"There are enough judges in the state of Kentucky and the northern Kentucky area that a truly neutral judge could have looked at this search warrant," Allen argued.

Despite the judge's decision to deny, Deters maintains the order has no bearing on his ability to win the case.

"Text messages will prove there was no solicitation by electronic means and the text messages will show there was absolutely no sexual conduct in the state of Kentucky," Deters said.   "I don't need them to prove my case, but they're embarrassing," Deters told FOX19.

"Having these text messages in, it really does strengthen the state's case," Allen said. "Does it strengthen it enough to carry the day for them? I'm not so sure about that. It's still going to be a difficult case."

Jones, the former Ben-Gal, is accused of having sex with a student at Dixie Heights High School while she was a teacher there.

A hearing was held Sept. 20 to determine if Judge Ken Easterling, who signed the search warrant that enabled the prosecution to obtain text messages between Jones and the alleged teenage victim, had a 'conflict of interest' in the case.

The alleged victim testified during that hearing that he had been to Easterling's home and was friends with his son.

Easterling testified that the first time he ever had contact with the teen was three months after he signed the searched warrant.

Deters says despite the order supporting Easterling's testimony, he will continue to 'go after' the judge by filing complaints.

Prosecutors revealed in a motion that Jones allegedly sent a text message to the student telling him to "deny everything."  Jones' attorney, Eric Deters, filed a motion to keep text message information sealed.

Judge Patricia Summe signed the order on Monday.

Jones is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 10.

FOX19 reached out to the prosecuting attorney handling the case but as of Tuesday night had not received a response.

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