Sheffler Re-Trial Begins To Take Shape, Jury Selection To Begin Monday

By Benjamin Cox on July 29, 2022 at 6:31am

A Western Illinois Corrections facility guard is facing a re-trial in federal court will begin soon. 53 year old Todd Sheffler of Mendon will once again stand trial for allegedly participating in the beating and violation of rights to inmate Larry Earvin.

Todd Sheffler was in court this morning to hear about three pre-trial motions regarding witnesses and evidence from both sides of the case.

Sheffler’s defense counsel asked the court to exclude any references to polygraph testing and results in the government’s prosecution. The government’s response that they would not be using any evidence of polygraph testing or results unless the defense were to open the door to that information. The government also said it would be redacting any references to such information and re-submitting exhibits with the redactions for discovery making the motion moot. The court concurred with the government’s response and denied the Defense’s motion.

Sheffler is also seeking to exclude his proffer agreement with the government for cooperation about the investigation into the death of Larry Earvin. The Court found that the proffer agreement is relevant to the case and will publish the letter of agreement to the jury but redact any consequences of violating the agreement in order to not prejudice the jury.

Sheffler’s counsel also asked for the elimination of the risk of unsworn witness issues in regards to Assistant US Attorney Timothy Bass and Defense Attorney William Vig during any interviews of Sheffler or other witnesses in the case from the previous trial. The government argued that the unsworn witness problem would be eliminated if Sheffler would stipulate to the voluntary nature and circumstances to the statements he provided to the FBI during the investigation of Earvin’s death and pursuant to his proffer agreement. The government also filed a counter-motion asking that Attorney Vig could not appear as an unsworn witness at the trial. The Government asked the Court to order Vig not to act as an unsworn witness at trial and asked for a voluntary consent and waiver of any conflict of interest. The Government asked the Court to disqualify Vig as counsel and allow the Government to issue a subpoena for Mr. Vig’s testimony at trial if he denied to provide the consent and waiver. The court declined to issue the order and admonished both parties of potential ethics violations.

The Government also sought an Order prohibiting the defense from referring to the prior trial or potential sentence, which the court granted.

The Government also sought an order to prohibit the use of using unauthenticated video exhibits at trial. The defense argued that it had used clipped versions of the government’s own videos that zoomed in on certain portions of prior exhibited video and synced it with the audio of a witness’s phone call. The court denied the government’s motion citing case law and current discovery in the case.

Jury selection is slated to commence for the new trial with jury selection on Monday.