Special prosecutor has 30 days to appeal Geurts ruling
Special prosecutor Jim Zimmerman says he has 30 days to decide on whether he will appeal a ruling that dismissed charges against the mother of a two year old Gering girl accused in the toddler's death. Scotts Bluff County District Judge Leo Dobrovolny's ruling eliminated the charges against 25 year old Charyse Geurts in the 2008 death of Juliette Geurts.
Dobrovolny ruled favorably on defense attorney Bell Island's contention that the charges against his client do not meet the three year requirement of the state's statute of limitations. Island's motion to quash said the indictment and resulting charges filed in January were four and a half years after the July 2008 murder, and therefore should be dismissed.
Zimmerman maintained the Geurts charges could be filed within seven years of two year old Juliette Geurts death because they "piggy-back" on felony child abuse charges filed against 26 year old Dustin Chauncey. The state's child abuse statute allowed filing of charges within seven years of the crime.
Zimmerman told KNEB News Saturday that Dobrovolny is correct that there is no case law that backs his argument that the statute of limitations for an accessory charge to a major crime like child abuse or even murder should be similar to the case it involves. Zimmerman says he can ask Dobrovolny to reconsider, which he admits is unlikely unless he can find a case that supports his contention.
Zimmerman says he could also ask the state's Appellate Court to favor his argument and simply rule that associated charges should have the same statute of limitations as the case to which it attaches.
Geurts' boyfriend at the time, Dustin Chauncey, is in Colorado, where he has been sentenced to prison on unrelated charges. Chauncey is expected to be brought back to Scotts Bluff County in next few weeks.
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