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Juvenile hearing moved back
May 20, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
A decision whether to move a high profile juvenile case to adult court has been postponed until Tuesday, June 7 at 2:30 p.m. in Scotts Bluff County Court.

The county attorney’s office had filed a motion to transfer the case to adult court, which was to be considered by County Judge Kris Mickey during a preliminary hearing on May 19.

The case stems from a complaint filed in County Juvenile Court, charging a 16-year-old youth with intruding upon another person “without her consent or knowledge in a place of solitude or seclusion; to wit: girls locker room at Gering High School.”

The complaint includes 20 counts of unlawful intrusion, a class one misdemeanor, and 20 counts of unlawful intrusion-photograph, a class four felony.

The complaint asserted in its 20 felony counts the juvenile had “recorded by video, photographic, digital or other electronic means another person in a state of undress in the girls locker room at Gering High School.”
During the May 19 hearing, Judge Mickey said he wouldn’t ask for a plea, but did read the charges against the juvenile and what his rights were under the law.

Mickey moved the hearing date to consider transferring the case to adult court to June 7, after defense attorney of record Bell Island filed a motion to quash.

According to the LegalMatch website, a motion to quash is a request asking the court to render the decision of a previous lower court ruling invalid. “This is often filed at the beginning of a trial or appeal as a pretrial motion. It is something similar to a motion to dismiss, except it asks the court to nullify a previous ruling rather than the current filing,” the website said.

Sterling Huff, serving as the youth’s attorney at the May 19 hearing, was successful in obtaining a continuance on the prosecution’s motion to move the case to adult court. Defense motions to quash as well as a motion for discovery will also be heard at the June 7 hearing.

When later asked to explain the grounds for the motion to quash, Huff deferred to Island, the defense attorney of record. Island was out of the area and unavailable for comment.

When the incident was discovered, Gering School Superintendent Bob Hastings sent letters, dated May 10, to the parents of the 26 girls in those classes at the high school. The letter assured parents the district is “committed to ensuring the care, privacy, dignity, and safety of all the district’s students.”

Hastings added that although the schools are on hiatus until August, counselors will be made available over the summer to support any student who feels traumatized by what has occurred.

The school district is also planning an overall review of security to assure incidents like this can be prevented in the future. That includes a review of the cell phone policy.
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