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Hazing case back in court

March 31, 2014

BLACKFOOT — The so-called hazing case returned to court Friday afternoon.
This hazing case involved five former Blackfoot High School students who faced various charges related to incidents which took place while they were members of the high school basketball team. It was filed in 2012.
Defendants include Scott Andrew, Kurt Asmus, Blackfoot School District 55, Bingham County, City of Blackfoot, R. David Moore, Paul Newbold and Randy Smith. The plaintiffs are Logan Chidester, Tyson Katseanes and Nathan Walker.
Arguments were presented before Sixth Judicial District Judge David Nye.
Blake Hall is representing the Blackfoot School District and attorneys Andrew and Smith.
Hall emphasized Idaho Code 6-610 that states, "Before any civil action may be filed against any law enforcement officer … a written undertaking with at least two sufficient sureties in an amount to be fixed by the court.
[If] "… the plaintiff's or petitioner's failure to posts a bond under this section, the judge shall dismiss the case."
Hall also argued that prosecutors Andrew and Smith are entitled to absolute immunity because the charges brought against the three young men were made from information assimilated and presented to Smith by the police or, at least, qualified immunity.
Nathan Starnes represented the City of Blackfoot and individuals named therein and presented similar arguments.
Stephen Blaser represented Chidester, Walker and Katseanes.
Blaser said he felt he was blindsided with Idaho Code 6-610.
Blaser's argument was based on the rush to file felony charges against the three young men who were 18 or 19 at the time of the original filing.
A prosecutor has five years to file felony charges against an individual, said Blaser.
Rushing to file felony charges "was an abuse of process," he said. "They had time to complete their investigation before filing any felony charges.
"The [young men] were not convicted of any felony; there was no determination against them," said Blaser. "[Prosecutors] were destroying young people's lives on some type of sexual crime."
The three young men pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.
On the record, Blaser said, "Prosecutors are not subject to absolute immunity."
Judge Nye said he had previously decided to take the case under advisement before rendering a decision in 30 days.
However, with the introduction of Idaho Code 6-610, Judge Nye gave plaintiff attorney Blaser one week to file a brief. Defendant attorneys Hall and Starnes will have the next week to respond.
Judge Nye will then consider dismissing of the case as seemingly required by 6-610. If the case is not dismissed, he will then take up other issues in this case.
Thursday, a decision was filed in the federal case "John Doe vs Blackfoot School District, et al."
In this case, John Doe was the fifth defendant in the original Blackfoot hazing case. John Doe was a minor when charges were filed against the other three so his name was not made public.
The decision rendered by Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the United States District Court entered a judgment in favor of defendants and against plaintiffs.
"Plaintiffs' federal law claims are dismissed with prejudice and plaintiffs' state law claims are dismissed without prejudice."
When a case is dismissed with prejudice, the case is closed. It cannot be brought back into court.
When a case is dismissed without prejudice, the case can be filed again in court.

 

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