Austin Police shooting case moves to federal court

A former Austin Police detective's manslaughter case is moving to federal court.

All eyes are on former Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert.

He walked into federal court Tuesday for a hearing, and that's where his case will stay for now.

"We think we're in the place we need to be," says Randy Leavitt, defense attorney.

Lawyers presented their arguments to U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, on whether the manslaughter case should stay in state court or move to federal court.

Both sides were given thirty minutes.

After a short recess, Judge Yeakel ruled to move the case forward to a federal evidentiary hearing, set for March 3rd at 9:00 a.m.

"Well it's just the first step. That's the first step in this process and it's going to be a long process. We're pleased with the outcome," says Leavitt.

Charles Kleinert fatally shot Larry Jackson, Jr. in 2013 after a chase and struggle.

This was during an investigation of a bank robbery.

A Travis County jury indicted Kleinert in May of 2014.

He pleaded not guilty.

The defense argues that at the time, the former detective was working full-time on a federal task force.

At the next hearing, the focus will be to determine whether Kleinert is considered a federal officer and is immune from prosecution on grounds of it being unintentional.

"It keeps it here in federal court for now so we can have a hearing and prove up what we put in our petition," says Leavitt.

It was last month when Kleinert's attorney filed a motion seeking to transfer the charges from state court.

A motion that Travis County prosecutors have been against since the beginning, stating the actions that lead to the shooting were reckless.

Last week we spoke with attorney Adam Loewy, who is representing Jackson's parents in this case.

"It's critical the case stays in Travis County and we need Austin residents to decide. I believe the case will go back to state court but there are a lot of legal issues to work through," Adam Loewy, attorney for Jackson's parents.

In turn it could delay the process.

This is a very unusual situation according to Judge Yeakel because the law is not clear on what the definition of a federal officer is.


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