David Chandler court date

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 21, 2011

Chandler hearing moved up six weeks, set for Oxford courtroom
Doctor asks court to name new trial date

By Billy Davis

A court hearing for David Chandler, the former county administrator who is cooperating with a federal government investigation, has been moved forward from December to November.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Batesville doctor Robert Corkern are petitioning the U.S. District Court in Oxford to allow them more time to prepare for a December 12 trial.

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Chandler is expected to waive indictment and plead guilty to two unknown counts in a court proceeding known as a bill of information, which dispenses with a grand jury.

Chandler’s court appearance was originally set for December 14 in Aberdeen in front of U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock.

Court documents show the hearing has been reset for November 9 in Oxford, also in front of Aycock.
Chandler is represented by attorney Hiram Eastland Jr., who has said his client is cooperating with the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, Corkern attorneys Parker Still of Batesville and William Travis of Southaven filed the Motion for Continuance before U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers.

Postponing court proceedings is referred to as a continuance in legal jargon.

It’s possible that Biggers will move the December 12 trial to sometime in 2012 since Corkern’s attorneys were retained only two months before the trial date was set.

Biggers has already moved several trail dates for co-defendants Ray Shoemaker and Lee Garner, when their attorneys cited 50,000 pages of government documents and asked for more time to prepare.

Still and Travis state that Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Spillers advised them that “discovery in this case was voluminous” and would require some time for the defense attorneys to review.  

Spillers is not objecting to Corkern’s request for more time according to the attorneys’ motion.

Corkern is facing a five-count federal indictment accusing him of bribery, fraud and conspiracy, all related to his tenure as head of Tri-Lakes Medical Center from 2005 to 2007.

The doctor was arraigned October 11 at a hearing in Aberdeen. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $40,000 bond.

Shoemaker and Garner were indicted earlier this year, accused by the federal government of colluding in a kickback scheme with former Chandler, who has not been indicted.

Corkern has emerged as the third co-defendant in a federal investigation that has centered on past leadership at Tri-Lakes.

Instead of indicting Corkern separately, the federal government named him in a superseding indictment, which simply updated the earlier accusations against Shoemaker and Garner. That means if Corkern’s trial date is moved, the trial dates for Shoemaker and Garner will also change.

The latest indictment also includes new federal charges against Shoemaker for his alleged role in a scheme to divert hospital funds for his own use.