Judge rejects former White House attorney's motions
Published 10:42 am, Friday, August 16, 2013
STAMFORD -- A judge denied several motions Wednesday from a former White House attorney accused of trying to beat his ex-wife to death with a metal flashlight in 2010.
John Michael Farren, 60, was seeking to eliminate the $750,000 bond he is being held on as well as move his trial from Stamford to another district arguing that media coverage has made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.
Judge Richard Comerford rejected all of the motions, including eliminating a requirement to wear a tracking device and loosen restrictions on his ability to travel, with little comment.
Stamford State's Attorney David Cohen asked Comerford to deny Farren's request arguing the heavier conditions remain warranted.
In April, Farren, who is representing himself, announced that he would pursue an insanity defense, and produce witnesses who could verify he suffers from a brain defect.
Comerford told Farren he was not prepared to act on a still pending motion to dismiss charges based on due process grounds because both Farren and Cohen's briefs contained highly sophisticated legal arguments.
"It's a highly complex motion," Comerford said. "That's not a commentary on your brief, the prosecution's brief is also complex, but yours is especially hard for me to read...There is a lot of law in it."
Farren faces charges of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor and faces a maximum of 70 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Farren, who served as an attorney for both Bush administrations before serving as a corporate attorny for Xerox in Norwalk, argued Comerford should take into account his compliance with the various mandated measures such as psychiatric treatment and abiding by travel restrictions since his release since 2010. Under the condition of his bond, Farren has been allowed to live at his sister's West Hartford home but has not been able to travel beyond a 20 mile radius.
"There are now 44 months of experience the court did not have when the original release was set up," Farren said. "I went throughout patient programs and I followed all the requirements appropriate for this."
New Canaan police charged Farren in the brutal assault of his former wife. According to court records, Farren severely beat his wife after she served him with divorce papers seeking to end thier 12-year marriage.
Mary Margaret Farren, 43, was able to escape the couple's $4 million New Canaan estate after hitting a panic alarm and driving to a nearby house with her two young daughters. She suffered a broken jaw, facial fractures and several lacerations to the back of her head, police said.
As he left the courtroom Farren declined comment.
After the hearing, Cohen said that the passage of time between the alleged crime and a trial for Farren did not lessen the need to ensure that the court limiting Farren's freedom to travel or strict conditions before the case's disposal.
"Obviously we are concerned about the victim's safety," Cohen said. "The delay has been very frustrating and we'd like to get this case to trial and there have certainly been a lot of delays that are not our fault."
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