Judge to allow all current evidence in Taylor County misconduct in office case

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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- The Taylor County deputy charged with misconduct in office for giving two cold case files to a television crime show the county was working with, without prior approval, is expected to go to trial this fall.

Steven Bowers was back in court Tuesday to hear Judge Robert Russell's decisions on motions the defense filed in the case. Though the case is a Taylor County case, Russell, a Lincoln County Circuit Court judge is handling the case and held the proceeding at the Lincoln County Courthouse.

There were several motions Bowers' attorney filed that, if granted, would mean the state could not use certain evidence. Judge Russell, however, disagreed with the motions and will allow the state to use the evidence already collected at trial.

Judge Russell granted one motion Bowers' attorney filed. That motion was for the discovery of two Division of Criminal Investigation reports that involve former Taylor County Sheriff Bruce Daniels. There are heavy redactions in both cases, and while parts of it will remain redacted, some parts will be made available for the defense to review ahead of trial.

"The defense has argued that Sheriff Daniels may be a witness at the trial in this matter and has argued that his credibility may be in question," Judge Russell said during the proceeding. "The defense has also argued that the items requested are exculpatory evidence and can be used for impeachment purposes. After the court's in-camera review, the court agrees with the defense and the court will grant that the motion compels discovery and inspection of those materials."

Those case files are expected to be released next week.