JPD investigator takes stand in sexual assault trial

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010

Editor's note: The following story contains a description of an alleged crime of a sexual nature. Readers are encouraged to use their own discretion when reading.

Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

The officer who led the Juneau Police Department's investigation of a sexual assault allegedly committed by a former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball coach took the witness stand Thursday and testified James Hamey admitted to the victim and police that he did commit improprieties.

JPD Detective Krag Campbell was the state's witness and confirmed speaking to the alleged victim on Dec. 3. He said he later showed her a photo lineup and testified the alleged victim identified Hamey as her assailant, the former Crimson Bear basketball coach charged with second-degree sexual assault.

Campbell said he obtained a warrant to record conversations between the alleged victim and Hamey, and District Attorney Doug Gardner entered two of those recordings in to evidence.

Campbell's testimony and the recordings prompted much bantering between Hamey's attorney Louis Menendez and Gardner, which Judge Philip Pallenberg had to officiate.

At the time of the alleged assault, Hamey worked as a driver for Care-A-Van. He drove a Care-A-Van vehicle to the alleged victim's residence on the night of the alleged assault, according to statements from a police spokesman found in the Empire's archives.

The state played audio of the victim asking Hamey "I am upset, why did you come to my house? ... Why did you grab my breast? ... Why were you trying to put your hands down my pants at the same time you were holding my breast? ... Why did you think you had the right to touch me and fondle me and hold my breast?"

Hamey's voice is heard saying, "I am sorry, it won't happen again... I shouldn't have.... I didn't meant to... I don't have an answer, it won't happen again... I apologize."

When the victim asks Hamey if she is the only one that he had done this too and Hamey replied "yeah," she asks "Then why me? Can you promise not to come by my house?"

Hamey answered, "Yup, absolutely... I don't know what I was thinking."

The state then played a recording of the interview between Campbell and Hamey at the police station, in which Hamey said he didn't know what the interview was about but that he had received a phone call from a client earlier.

In that audio, Hamey states he visited the alleged victim just to see if she needed anything, gave her a brief hug, and took off; that she had asked for money several times, that he had taken her to the emergency room several times and worked late picking her up; that she was always depressed, had physical ailments, and needed money.

Hamey stated he is "just a friend who helps her when she needs help... I do the same for a lot of clients... not intrusive by any means, I am not harassing anyone."

Hamey denied ever having touched the victim's breasts, in the recording.

"I'm not the one who initiates the hug... it's just a brief shoulder embrace

"I don't remember exactly what I said to her, but I was trying to ease things. I was multitasking at the time, picking people up.

Campbell asked, "Is this a one-time isolated deal where you did something stupid, or are you trying to lure people into their homes?"

To which Hamey is heard, "I honestly don't remember doing anything inappropriate... it was pretty quick..."

In the audio Campbell tells Hamey, "She asked you 'why did you grab my breast?"

Hamey is heard replying, "I may have touched them. ... It wasn't something that she was trying to pull away. ... I was wrong... she was facing me, I just put my hand over them. ... it was less than a couple minutes, less than 10 seconds..."

Hamey also says he had his hand on her back and slid it down to just above the crack of her buttocks... at the time I didn't think I was doing anything that she didn't like, she didn't complain about it..."

There is a pause as Campbell is out of the interview room but he returns and informs Hamey he is being arrested.

Hamey is heard saying, "You are kidding."

Hamey's attorney Louis Menendez cross-examined Campbell and asked if he knew what Care-A-Van drivers do or what the policy is for Care-A-Van to drivers picking up calls while driving.

Campbell said, "I have no knowledge what the primary communication between dispatch and drivers are."

Menendez questions revealed that Campbell did not know what Hamey was doing at the time the one of the recorded phone calls was made, nor did Campbell check out Hamey's manifest, number of rides, or the number of people and wheelchairs in his van.

Menendez also asks why Campbell threw away a note from the interview, "Is that something we can count on with you in future cases, that you don't save everything?"

Campbell said the audiotape became the notes.

Menendez argued the traffic stop with multiple police calls and officers frightened Hamey, as they took him from the van to the back of the police car where he was detained and not free to leave.

During a break, Gardner stated he felt like Menendez opened a door for jurors to think that Hamey was not read his Miranda rights.

On prior agreement by both attorneys, the administration of Miranda warnings had been excised from the recording transcripts so as not to prejudice Hamey to the jury; but Gardner wanted that information provided to the jury so it would know Hamey was read his rights, as he said he believed Menendez' questioning had the appearance of JPD using a show of force to intimidate Hamey. Eventually, Gardner asked Campbell to read a certain portion of the transcript of his interview with Hamey that included the Miranda warnings.

After the break Menendez acknowledged Campbell's graduating from the Public Safety Training Academy in Sitka, along with other courses Campbell has taken and his experience as a detective. Menendez then asked about a certain type of questioning that officers use to elicit responses from suspects. As an example, Menendez said, "If I asked you are you still beating your wife, either way you answer that you are a dead man."

Campbell replied, "Yes if I had to answer that, I would be a dead man."

After the jury was dismissed, the court informed Hamey that he would have to make a decision Friday about testifying. Today's trial begins at 8:30 a.m.

Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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