The animal cruelty case against horse owner Beth Lynne Hoskins that has dragged on for nearly three years may take even longer to resolve.
Hoskins’ defense lawyer on Tuesday requested yet another adjournment, claiming Hoskins is ill and needs medical tests.
Few details of her medical condition were provided in Aurora Town Court, although her attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou, gave the court notes from three doctors.
Eoannou wants the trial to be adjourned until March 11. That would be a week before the third anniversary of the SPCA’s raid of Hoskins’ Morgan horse farm on Emery Road, March 18, 2010. The SPCA seized 74 horses that day, claiming the animals were kept in stalls with deep piles of manure.
Prosecutors, who have not requested any adjournments in the case, were clearly aggravated with the latest delay, indicating they were skeptical about the severity of Hoskins’ medical issues.
dle in Niagara County, and because those involved in the case had holiday-related conflicts.
More adjournments followed, with the defense citing Hoskins’ medical problems.
The defense Tuesday was supposed to have one of Hoskins’ doctors take the stand to discuss her situation, but that never happened.
Eoannou told Town Justice Douglas W. Marky that Hoskins’ doctor could not testify in person but could be available by conference call. The prosecution rejected that request and argued it cannot cross-examine a conference call or medical notes.
“I think it’s highly mysterious why she cannot sit in court two hours a day and assist with her defense,” Albert said.
The prosecution also asked the judge to allow the trial to continue, even if Hoskins cannot be present in the courtroom.
Marky refused to do that.
“We have a defendant who lives in town and has no prior criminal record, and a child and animals to care for,” Marky said, denying the prosecution’s request. He also said that request is typically made at the beginning of trials and not in the middle.
Eoannou argued Tuesday that Hoskins has medical tests scheduled.
“Her medical issue is evolving and Ms. Hoskins is here against doctor’s orders,” he told the judge.
Eoannou said Hoskins’ doctor did not want her in court Tuesday. But she attended anyway, bringing her daughter, Alex.
If Hoskins does not show up for the next day of testimony, Albert said he’ll request a warrant for her arrest and possible jailing.
“I don’t see any compelling reasons why she cannot be in court. She is here today and she actively participated in discussions in chambers this morning,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Drmacich. “I don’t think the court has any basis to grant more adjournments.”
He said Hoskins indicated in a meeting held in the chambers meeting before open court that she has had health issues for three years, possibly abdominal in nature, and she may require surgery.
Drmacich also asked for a contempt of court order, saying the defense failed to produce medical witnesses Tuesday as it had been asked by the court.
Marky set the next court date for 2:15 p.m. on March 5, asking that medical experts be in court to testify about Hoskins’ illness, medical status and test results.
If nothing materializes to justify holding a medical hearing that day, Marky said the trial will resume that afternoon in his courtroom.
Hoskins left the courtroom without commenting. Her attorney declined additional comment.
Marky acknowledged the numerous adjournments in the case, but said it is not uncommon for adjournments, in general, to occur in the legal arena.
“This case is a little bit different than the usual. This is really 74 trials, with the 74 horses, many of which are in different circumstances and that is why it is taking so long,” the judge said. “Sometimes a witness is on the stand for countless hours.”