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Vindictive prosecution ruling in crosswalk case overturned

Boulder City did not vindictively prosecute a former resident, according to a new order issued by a judge in Nevada’s Eighth District Court.

The order stems from a case involving the June 8, 2016 arrest of John Hunt, who lived in Boulder City at the time.

On Friday, July 31, Judge Richard Scotti issued a minute order in an appeal filed by Hunt saying that City Attorney Steve Morris, former City Attorney Davis Olsen and the city did not vindictively prosecute him or violate his First Amendment rights. He also wrote that the reputations of Olsen and Morris “should not be tarnished.”

In October 2018, Scotti ruled the opposite way and dismissed the case, saying it violated Hunt’s First Amendment rights.

“Unfortunately, the damage to my reputation has already occurred and continues to occur through bigotry, discrimination, slander, libel, bullying and harassment,” Morris said. “These efforts have not only adversely impacted me and my family but the dedicated staff and employees of Boulder City and their families. I can only hope that this decision may pave the way to greater unity and the eradication of the cancel culture that remains a cancer to our city and society.”

Hunt’s former attorney, Stephen Stubbs, filed a motion for final judgment in January, asking for payment for attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. Morris filed a motion opposing it and asking for a hearing to present new evidence. Scotti allowed for the hearing, which was held July 23.

According to the order from the hearing, Scotti wrote he believed the city presented evidence that the Federal District Court said the city had “probable cause to arrest Hunt.” He also wrote that the city’s new charges filed against Hunt almost a year after the incident were a reaction to his federal complaint “but not a retaliatory reaction.”

“He (Olsen) was winding down his affairs due to the anticipated retirement,” Scotti wrote in the order. “He had been without a paralegal for part of that time period. He had forgotten about the Hunt matter. And Hunt jogged his memory by filing his Federal Court action.”

Scotti ordered the city’s attorney, Cynthia Alexander, to prepare a final order that reflects his minute one.

“There will be no further hearings on Hunt’s efforts to dismiss the case on motion practice,” Morris said.

Stubbs represented Hunt through the July 23 hearing. On Friday, July 31, Stubbs said he was no longer on the case and did not want to give an official statement about why he left.

“In 2016, BCPD (Boulder City Police Department) gave me a dash-cam video that I thought was fake,” Hunt said. “I tried to tell the press and was repeatedly ignored. I hired experts to verify what I was saying. They agreed. I was still ignored. Feeling I had no options left, I sued the city in an attempt to get the real video. Why are people upset that I took these steps? They should be happy that I tried to inform others of an important discovery. I believe many people who receive fake videos don’t survive their encounter with police. I did this on their behalf.”

Hunt said he currently did not have an attorney.

Olsen said he was “deeply appreciative” of Scotti’s statements about him and his actions.

“I think it’s all turning out the way it’s supposed to,” he said.

He also said the case may have been able to be resolved sooner if the city had asked him earlier to testify about what happened with the charges against Hunt.

Bridgford 7-31-20 by Boulder City Review on Scribd

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

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