Korte waives right to preliminary hearing

Case to continue in court this coming Monday

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Korte was charged by the University Police Department with two counts of child pornography possession and taken into custody Aug. 2. He was released on bond Sept. 6. 

Assoc. Prof. Walter Korte, Jr., who was charged by the University Police Department with two counts of child pornography possession in August, has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

The case will go to Albemarle County Circuit Court on Dec. 5, where an officer of the law will give testimony to a grand jury in order to determine if probable cause exists for further litigation to proceed. This proceeding will not be open to the public, and Korte will not be present.

The University placed Korte on administrative leave after University police conducted a series of searches in both Korte’s home in Albemarle County and his office on Grounds.

He was arrested and taken into custody Aug. 2, but has released on bond Sept. 6. Until these recent events, the 72 year-old professor served as the director of film studies since 1970.

Law Prof. Darryl K. Brown said a preliminary hearing deals with the evidence required for a case to move forward.

“It’s just an occasion for the judge to confirm that the prosecution has enough evidence to file the charge and take the defendant to trial,” he said. “It requires a relatively low standard of proof.”

It is that low standard of proof which Brown cites as a possibility for why Korte decided to forego a preliminary hearing.

“He probably waived it because his attorneys realized that the state has plenty of evidence to file a charge, that the state would definitely win the preliminary hearing and be able to take him to trial,” Brown said. “So, they had nothing to gain by going through that hearing, and probably wanted to avoid the public spectacle of doing so.”

Brown said he doubted legal costs factored into the decision.

“I would bet it’s much more a matter of strategy. They probably just don’t see any point in it,” he said. “With the cost of the trial, a couple more hours on the trial wouldn’t be that big of a deal.”

Korte’s attorney, Bonnie Lepold of Lepold & Freed, declined to comment for this article.

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