BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Pine Bluff woman facing multiple charges including capital murder after the death of a Pea Ridge Police officer has filed a pair of motions in court, aiming to limit the prosecution’s access to her personal records.
Shawna Cash, 24, faces charges of capital murder, escape, fleeing, two counts of aggravated assault, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, criminal mischief, obstructing governmental operations and reckless driving in connection with an incident that killed Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple in 2021.
On March 17, attorney Katherine S. Street of the Arkansas Public Defender Commission filed a motion addressing court-ordered subpoenas of Cash’s DHS records.
“The Prosecuting Attorney has no lawful basis for accessing the confidential records they are seeking,” Street’s filing said. “Because the Prosecuting Attorney’s attempted use of their subpoena power in this circumstance exceeds the authority granted by law, Defendant asks this
Court to quash the subpoena.”
The filing added that Cash’s right to a fair trial would be “irreparably damaged” if the subpoena was executed prior to a ruling on the motion. It asked for a temporary restraining order prohibiting the execution of the subpoena because of that.
Streett filed another motion on March 20 regarding sworn statements provided by members of Cash’s family, referring to a March 17 subpoena served by the prosecution on the defendant’s mother, brother and sister. The filing said that the defense believes that questioning revealed information identifying facilities where Cash received mental health treatment as a minor.
It went on to note that Cash’s mental health records are privileged under Rule 503 of Arkansas Rules of Evidence and are not subject to disclosure.
“Prosecutorial power to issue subpoenas cannot be used to defeat privilege,” the filing stated. It added that Cash will disclose records as required if the defense relies upon her mental or emotional condition at trial.
The filing concluded by asking the court to issue an order stopping the prosecution from accessing Cash’s mental health records.
Her trial is scheduled to begin on July 31. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.