PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When a prosecution psychiatrist interviews Richard Poplawski at the Allegheny County Jail, Poplawski’s defense attorneys will be present.
That’s just one of the issues that was settled when Poplawski came face to face with Judge Jeffrey Manning on Wednesday.
Defense attorneys objected to the interview itself, but the judge made it clear the decision is not up to the defense and that the lawyers can be present. However, they cannot interfere with the interview. The defense already has its own defense psychiatry team.
The judge called Poplawski forward and made sure that he understood that his defense team will only offer so-far-unspecified mental health issues in the penalty phase of the trial, should he be convicted. Nothing he says to the prosecution psychiatrist can be used in the guilt phase of the trial against him.
It was also made clear that if he is not cooperative with the the prosecution’s psychiatrist, the defense can’t use their own psychiatric evidence. When asked if he understood each point, Poplawski replied, “Yes.”
Poplawski is accused of killing Pittsburgh officers Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo in April of 2009 during a domestic call in Stanton Heights. The trial has been delayed for a number of reasons including, the defense claiming it needed more time to prepare its case.
But, when it was learned today that a defense expert had not prepared a report in written form, Judge Manning threatened to withhold payment to that expert since those expenses are being paid by taxpayers.
Early on in the case, psychiatric tests for Poplawski were expected to top $4,000.
A jury from Dauphin County, Pa. will be brought to Pittsburgh to hear the case.
Jury selection begins in June.