LANCASTER — A Garrard County judge set an October trial date for Magistrate Ronnie Lane, who is accused of hindering prosecution.
Lane, 72, of Lancaster, is accused of second-degree hindering prosecution for an alleged Feb. 19 incident, according to a criminal summons. If he is convicted of the misdemeanor charge during his trial, he could spend up to 12 months in jail.
During a pre-trial conference held in Garrard District Court Thursday, 13th Judicial Circuit Chief District Judge Bill Oliver set Lane’s trial for 1 p.m. Oct. 4. He also assigned the case to a Madison County prosecutor to avoid any potential legal conflicts of interest.
Lane was not required to appear in court and did not do so. He has pleaded not guilty in previous court hearings and declined to be interviewed, only reiterating his innocence.
The hindering prosecution complaint was sworn out against Lane more than three months after the alleged incident, court records show. During the time period in which Kentucky State Trooper David S. Fugate filed a criminal warrant against Lane, the magistrate was embroiled in a heated conflict with Magistrates Joe Leavell and Fred Simpson about the 2012-13 county budget.
On Feb. 19, Lane allegedly was with Misty Barker, 31, when Fugate called Barker’s cell phone, according to court records. Fugate wanted to interview Barker regarding her alleged involvement in the theft of a concrete saw. She declined to meet with police and allegedly said she and Lane were getting into a car. Fugate, who said in his criminal complaint that he knew Lane pretty well, asked to speak to the magistrate.
When Lane got on Barker’s cell phone, he allegedly refused to disclose their location, court records show. When the state trooper informed Lane he could be prosecuted for refusing to cooperate, he allegedly said, “Do what you have to do.”
Police later arrested Barker and she awaits trial on two charges of theft by unlawful taking more than $500.