Published January 28, 2013, 09:37 PM
MSOP attempted escapees still not sentencedTwo of the four Minnesota Sexual Offender Program (MSOP) inmates who attempted to escape from the Moose Lake facility in 2010 are still working their way through the legal system.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Steven Allan Housman, 58, and Russell Lynn Norton, 44, are both charged with attempted escape from custody under supervision of mental health treatment facility, but their case has most recently failed to advance because the MSOP administration wouldn’t allow the men an extra storage box for their legal papers.
Norton and Housman, along with Lloyd Anthony Hartleib, 44, and Christopher Loyd Ivey, 42, were apprehended June 19, 2010, while attempting to escape the MSOP facility by scaling the fences in order to get beyond the perimeter of the secure facility.
Upon investigation of the escape attempt, MSOP Special Investigator Jamie Jungers determined that all four men had earlier concocted an elaborate scheme that involved jimmying the facility door leading from the interior of the facility out to the courtyard area in order to prohibit staff from immediately apprehending them when they ran from the interior to the courtyard.
Hartleib pleaded guilty Sept. 9, 2010, and Ivey pleaded guilty March 9, 2011, but the Norton and Housman cases have been continued multiple times, with a jury trial scheduled and cancelled in June 2012.
In Carlton County Court last Thursday, Judge Dale Wolf showed obvious frustration with what he called “silly procedural games to delay the real issue.”
Defense attorney Terri Port Wright also expressed frustration; however, her problem was with MSOP officials whose best offer was to give her clients extra boxes that would be stored away from them but would be accessible only “with 48 hours notice to retrieve.”
After a fairly heated debate between Port Wright and prosecuting attorney Jesse Berglund, Judge Wolf ordered that MSOP officials allow the two men to have extra containers for their legal papers in their rooms, noting the defendants have a right to access the “discovery” documents outlining the facts and findings in the case.
In fact, Wolf said he would go to Wal-Mart and buy “tote” storage containers for the two MSOP defendants.
“We’re not raising the debt ceiling here, let’s look at the size of the legal papers and I will get the totes so they have enough room to put the discovery inside and slide them under their beds,” Wolf said. “It won’t cost [MSOP] a penny, but I want the boxes saved so future defendants can also use them.”
“Frankly, I’ve got enough to do,” he continued. “I want to come to a common sense solution.
“We’re here to try cases, not to babysit.”
A joint jury trial for both men has now been set for May 2013.