In a petition filed with the Wyoming Supreme Court, attorneys allege that a Teton County MP lied on the booth during a preliminary hearing.
Their motion for review, filed on Nov. 25, argues that judges should be able to test a person’s credibility during a preliminary hearing before deciding whether there is a likely reason to send a case to a criminal court. On the file, attorneys Tom Fleener and Devon Petersen are calling on state judges to rule “that due process requires that witnesses at preliminary hearings are credible and that hearsay evidence is reliable in order to be admissible and the basis for a likely reason.” to build.”
The filing comes from a preliminary hearing in Teton County Circuit Court on October 6th in which Deputy Bret Bommer testified on his investigation into a third degree sexual assault in which a teenage boy grabbed another teen’s chest in a hot tub last winter and held her legs.
“When examined directly, in response to leading questions from the state and without any basis, Deputy Bommer said it was” his understanding “that the alleged sexual contact occurred at the same time as the alleged physical restraint,” the petition said. “However, under cross-examination, Deputy Bommer testified that he was unaware that the alleged sexual contact and physical restraint” all occurred in the same event “and that he thought that several separate incidents may have occurred.”
At the end of the hearing in October, Petersen informed the court that Bommer’s testimony was not credible. The case was referred to the District Court, where the matter was raised again.
Lawyers said they found evidence after the preliminary hearing that Bommer’s testimony regarding the closing time of the facility where the alleged crime took place was “demonstrably false”.
The 9th Judicial District denied their request for a new preliminary hearing, finding that the district courts are not required to judge the credibility of witnesses.
Wyoming Supreme Court petition puts criminal proceedings in Teton County District Court on hold.
In a joint email statement sent to News & Guide on Tuesday, Fleener and Petersen said they filed the petition because they believe the law needs to be changed.
“In this case, we believe that Deputy Bret Bommer lied at the preliminary hearing on the stand in order to continue an unsubstantiated criminal prosecution against our client,” they wrote. “Incredibly, the current state of the law instructs judges not to consider a witness’s credibility in preliminary hearings. This leads to legal proceedings in which innocent people fight for their lives. “
They hoped the Wyoming Supreme Court would agree that the likely cause should be determined based on credible evidence.
“Without this ruling, law enforcement officers like Deputy Bommer will continue to be able to prosecute weak cases without credible evidence and lie to support them,” they wrote in the email.
Petersen and Fleener argue that the lack of reliable evidence needed in preliminary hearings puts an undue strain on Wyoming’s criminal justice system and the defendants.
“This means that cases may currently not be credible and unreliable and that there is essentially no judicial control over professional function,” they wrote on the court record.
The lawyers want to dismiss the lawsuit against their client or have a new preliminary hearing.