Judge drops charges against Kasson man accused of possessing 5 pounds of meth
On Oct. 12 Jose Alberto Hernandez-Bautista was charged with a First Degree Drug Possession charge after about five pounds of meth was found during a traffic stop in Dodge County.
Those charges were dismissed on Monday, by Judge Williamson. According to a press release from Kurt J. Knusel, the lawyer for Hernandez-Bautista, he filed a motion seeking dismissal of the charges against his client based on the Dodge County Attorney's Office's failure to disclose critical evidence in the case. With his motion, Knuesel filed an affidavit outlining his efforts to obtain the information sought, including his own client's statement. Knuesel stated that he made requests for specific pieces of information at least four times since he was retained in December of 2018. Each time, the Dodge County Attorney's Office failed to respond. Based on this failure, Knuesel asked Judge Williamson to sanction the State and to dismiss the charges against his client.
In her order, Judge Williamson stated that the Dodge County Attorney's Office failed to comply with the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure and that failure was without lawful excuse: “[T]he Dodge County Attorney's Office's failure to comply with...the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, under these circumstances, warrants appropriate sanctions...” Judge Williamson determined that the Defendant was prejudiced by the failures of the Dodge County Attorney's Office and, as such, sanctions resulting in the dismissal of the charges against Hernandez-Bautista were appropriate.
Knusel explained, that he agreed with the Judge’s ruling.
“When a person is formally charged with a crime in Minnesota, the laws of our state require the government to disclose the evidence that it claims to have to support the charges against that person. The law requires that these disclosures be made to allow a person charged with a crime to defend himself. In this case, because those disclosures were not made, we have not been provided with enough evidence to support the charges against Mr. Hernandez-Bautista. Judge Williamson's Order was the only fair result in this case."
According to Knusel, his client is also very pleased with the outcome who claimed his innocence from the very beginning in the case.
“My client has maintained his innocence in this matter. The government has not provided evidence to support the charges against him. Mr. Hernandez-Bautista is, understandably, pleased that Judge Williamson recognized that fact and dismissed the charges."