FARMINGTON — Local lawyer Walter Hanstein told a judge Tuesday that his client’s constitutional rights are being violated because he’s at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, 90 minutes away from Farmington.

Hanstein asked Judge Susan Oram to either rule that Robert Parker Jr., 43, must be moved closer to Farmington or be released on a pretrial contract while awaiting trial on charges that include sexual assault against a child under 12 and endangering the welfare of a child by giving cigarettes to two children under 15.

Parker’s bail on two felony gross sexual assault charges was set at $75,000 cash or $150,000 worth of real estate this month. He is also accused of threatening to kill the child in the sexual assault case and harassing family members by sending texts with explicit descriptions of what he would do to the child, according to a police affidavit.

Hanstein told the court that through no fault of Parker’s he is being held in Windham, which violates his rights to counsel and equal protection under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S.  Constitution.

The Franklin County Detention Center in Farmington has been a 72-hour holding facility since 2009, when the state took over county jails. Inmates who can not make bail are housed at other jails or prisons around the state.

Oram said she doesn’t think the court has the authority to tell the state where to house an inmate.

Hanstein said she has the ability to release Parker on a pretrial agreement.

He said the three-hour round trip to Windham is also preventing Parker from seeing his family, who could help him. He also said he believes Parker has some needs that are not being met.

“It’s not that I’d rather not drive three hours to see the guy, I just don’t have the time,” Hanstein said, because he has other court cases, including five in South Paris.

“It’s an unfair burden,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney James Andrews said he was prepared Tuesday to argue where Parker would be housed, not if he would be housed. He said the bail amount is appropriate.

“I’m opposed to a pretrial agreement. The state’s primary concern is Mr. Parker is held,” Andrews said.

He also said Parker is being held on post-conviction matters and others that have not been tried.

Asking the county to hold inmates more than the 72 hours, which it is currently not certified to do, would cause legal ramifications for Franklin County, Andrews said. There are no medical services, no psychiatric services and no operating kitchen at the jail. Inmates eat food heated in a microwave and served on Styrofoam plates, he said.

He suggested that if Hanstein cannot defend his client the way he wants to, that he withdraw as counsel.

“But that does not help Mr. Parker,” he said.

Oram pointed out that Parker is not being held without bail.

She proposed that Hanstein file a memorandum showing cases that would give her the authority to direct the state where inmates should be held and she would give the state time to respond to it.

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