Defendant also asks for 32 counts to be dismissed
DALLAS — Heather Mounce, the former Dallas resident charged with 98 counts of identity theft and fraud, is scheduled for a hearing on Monday to address motions proposed by her attorney, including a change of venue.
Mounce’s attorney, Timothy Park, drafted four motions related to the case against his client, which were turned in to the court on July 26.
In his motions, Park requests a change of venue due to extensive news coverage of Mounce’s 2017 disappearance and rescue from a cliff near Florence, and her 2018 indictment. He said two social media groups, one on Facebook and another on Instagram, include many local residents and have spread facts about the case.
“The extent of both news media coverage and local social media interest in this case prevents defendant from receiving a fair trial,” Park wrote.
In a separate motion, Park requested a third of the charges be dismissed due to prosecutors being too late bring those charges against his client.
In the indictment, Mounce is accused of crimes dating back to 2013, including first-degree aggravated theft and first-degree theft. Park asserts prosecution of those crimes must begin within three years.
“The information in this case was filed with the court on July 19, 2018,” Park wrote in his motion. “Because the statute of limitations of aggravated theft in the first degree and theft in the first degree is three years, that means any counts that occurred before July 20, 2015, are time barred.”
Park said time limitations apply to 32 counts on the indictment.
In a third motion, Park says evidence in a phone call recorded by Dallas police should be suppressed because Mounce was not aware she was being recorded. Mounce’s statements in that phone call lead to an additional charge in the case, one that was not included in the 96 original charges.
The phone was not with investigators, but a Department of Human Services employee. Park said that still violates his client’s rights, because police did not notify her lawyer beforehand.
“When the police questioning concern uncharged criminal acts, however, the court must determine ‘whether it is objectively reasonably foreseeable that the questioning will lead to incriminating evidence concerning the offense for which the defendant has obtained counsel,’” Park wrote. “A DHS worker conducting an interview with the defendant for the purpose of continuing constitutes police questioning.”
Park in another motion request some of the charges be tried in a separate trial because they do not meet the requirements of being “of the same or similar character; based on the same act or transaction; or Based on two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or plan.”
He said some of the charges in the indictment relate to Mounce allegedly stealing from her employer and other charges relate to allegedly stealing from a family member. Those should be tried in separate trials, Park wrote.
The motion hearing is scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m. before Polk County Circuit Court Judge Norm Hill.