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Vindictive prosecution case returns to court

Boulder City will have the opportunity present evidence at a hearing in June about a vindictive prosecution case involving a former resident who was arrested while protesting a police-sanctioned crosswalk enforcement event.

The case stems from the June 8, 2016, arrest of former resident John Hunt.

In October 2018, District Judge Richard Scotti ruled that the city had vindictively prosecuted Hunt and dismissed the case, saying it violated Hunt’s First Amendment rights. In January, the Nevada Supreme Court issued an order saying it would not grant Boulder City’s request for a new trial.

According to records in Nevada’s Eighth District Court, Hunt’s attorney, Stephen Stubbs, filed a motion for final judgment in January, asking for payment for attorney’s fees and litigation expense.

City Attorney Steve Morris filed a motion opposing it.

“After hearing argument from the parties and taking the matter under consideration, Judge Scotti denied Mr. Hunt’s motion and granted the city’s request for an evidentiary hearing,” Morris said.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 11 at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas.

“Steve Morris asked for an evidentiary hearing on his vindictive prosecution, so I get to call witnesses and ask questions,” Stubbs said. “Nothing will be presented about the facts of the actual case.”

Morris said by denying the motion, Scotti “struck his prior minute order, which found the city vindictively prosecuted Mr. Hunt and violated his First Amendment rights.”

“The evidentiary hearing on the criminal matter is set for future briefing and argument before Judge Scotti, and we are pleased that Judge Scotti struck his prior minute order and has given the parties the opportunity for a full evidentiary hearing on the issues,” he added.

Hunt also filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against the city; Judge James C. Mahan ruled that the city did not violate Hunt’s constitutional rights.

Hunt appealed that ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On April 1, that court upheld Mahan’s ruling.

“We appreciate the decision of the judges, and their ruling is a complete vindication of the spurious allegations made by Hunt and his attorney against the city,” Morris said.

Stubbs said they will be appealing the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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