Quantcast
Thursday, July 18, 2024

SCOOP: Judge Finds Patriot Front Prosecutor Acted in ‘Bad Faith,’ Tosses Case

'The State has engaged in bad faith in its dilatory disclosures, non-disclosures, failure to comply with Court Orders, failure to appear in Court when required, all the while insisting it has provided everything to Defense Counsel and is prepared for trial...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) An Idaho judge dismissed on Friday the state’s case against a Patriot Front member accused of conspiring to riot at an LGBT demonstration last year, finding that a prosecutor acted in “bad faith” by failing to provide the defendant with possibly exculpatory evidence.

Judge Destry Randles’s order stems from the incident in June 2022, when 31 members of the right-wing nationalist group were arrested after someone reported seeing people loading into a U-Haul van like “a little army” at a hotel parking lot in Coeur d’Alene.

Five of the Patriot Front defendants were convicted of misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot last month, while the group’s leader, Thomas Rousseau, is set to stand trial on Sept. 22.

But the Patriot Front’s Richard Jessop is now in the clear after Judge Randle dismissed the conspiracy charge against him Friday.

“The Court concludes dismissal is the only way this Court can instill some sense of justice back into this matter. There is no confidence the State has even yet complied with its discovery obligations,” Judge Randles said in her scathing order, which was directed towards Coeur d’Alene’s deputy city attorney, Ryan Hunter.

“The State has engaged in bad faith in its dilatory disclosures, non-disclosures, failure to comply with Court Orders, failure to appear in Court when required, all the while insisting it has provided everything to Defense Counsel and is prepared for trial.”

According to Judge Randles’s order, the prosecution didn’t inform Jessop what he was criminally charged with for 102 days after his initial arrest.

Then, the prosecution engaged in what Judge Randles described as a “14-month-long drip of discovery,” including the “dumping” of 3.5 terabytes of data on the defendant seven months after he was charged.

Prosecutor Hunter continued to ignore his discovery obligations, even after a judge ordered him to comply, Randles said.

Hunter, for his part, apparently tried to blame the FBI, telling the judge that the bureau possessed much of the evidence. But the judge rejected this excuse.

“This Court disagrees with the prosecutor’s assertion that the FBI’s possession of the phones prevented that information from being imputed to the State. The phones were turned over to the FBI, not seized by the FBI, these devices were seized by the Coeur d’Alene Police Department,” the judge said.

“Mr. Hunter told the Court that the FBI was not involved in the initial investigation. The Court has no information about how the FBI became involved, and the only information the Court has is that Detective Welch turned the phones over to the FBI while a warrant was being drafted,” the judge said, suggesting that the state was “partnering with a federal agency and playing a shell game with that evidence.”

“It should be noted that during the Motion to Suppress testimony, there was a statement that the FBI was present at the Command Center,” Randles added.

Randles further said that she considered a lesser sanction against the prosecution: simply disallowing the evidence that the prosecution failed to provide in a timely matter. But this route would unduly delay a trial for a misdemeanor crime that should have already been settled, she said.

It’s not yet clear how Jessop’s case will affect other Patriot Front members.

At least one member, Spencer Simpson, filed his own motion to dismiss earlier this month, making similar arguments to Jessop, according to the Idaho Tribune.

Spencer’s trial is set to begin at the end of this month, but he had a pre-trial motion hearing Friday—the same day Randles filed her order for dismissal in Jessop’s case. Spencer’s attorney, John Redal, didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiry seeking information about the outcome of Friday’s hearing.

Jessop was represented by Chris Schwartz of Schwartz Law.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

Copyright 2024. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner other than RSS without the permission of the copyright owner. Distribution via RSS is subject to our RSS Terms of Service and is strictly enforced. To inquire about licensing our content, use the contact form at https://headlineusa.com/advertising.
- Advertisement -

TRENDING NOW

TRENDING NOW