Woman accused of battering city official

SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint woman was arraigned Friday for allegedly battering a city official while researching her legal claims for a wrongful arrest last year.

Judge Barbara Buchanan entered a not guilty plea on Rita Nancy Hutchens’ behalf, clearing the way for a trial in Bonner County Magistrate Court.

Hutchens, according to a sheriff detective’s probable cause affidavit, was upset that a deputy city clerk monitored her from several feet away while she reviewed public records and was prevented from leaving City Hall with the documents.

Hutchens allegedly threw an ink pen down and it ended up hitting Deputy Clerk Melissa Ward in the arm. The alleged incident took place on Aug. 12.

Hutchens argues there is no evidence that such an incident even took place and Ward’s statements to the deputy were hearsay.

“There is no sworn affidavit from an injured party, complainant or witness filed with the court,” Hutchens said in a pending motion to dismiss.

Hutchens further argues that the citation and attendant court documents she received were rife with errors, including an illegible witness signature, a misspelling of her surname and other defects.

Hutchens, 57, filed a $250,000 claim for damages against the city for assault, battery and false arrest in 2011.

At the time of her arrest, Hutchens was being investigated by Sandpoint Police for allegedly harassing a tenant while an eviction proceeding was pending.

While Officer Theresa Heberer was taking the tenant’s statement, Hutchens drove by in her car, prompting Heberer to follow Hutchens to her home in an attempt to contact her, according to the police report.

Hutchens declined to speak with the officer and said in the claim that she was forcibly taken to the ground, which injured her elbow.

Hutchens was charged with obstructing a police officer, but her public defender, Margaret Williams, successfully argued that her client’s invocation of her Fifth Amendment right does not amount to obstruction.

Buchanan agreed and the case was thrown out prior to trial, court records show.

Read More News

Community gets first look at classic ride

December 07, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Cheers filled the Sandpoint Granary Warehouse Saturday as the doors to two vintage cargo trailers were opened, releasing 36 horses from a 64-year slumber.One at a time,...

Read More

Farm Bureau hosts annual meeting

December 07, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee Delegates from 36 counties met this week during the 77th annual meeting of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation to set the organization’s course for the coming year.Former Idaho Farm Bureau...

Read More

Spaghetti feast set for Sunday

December 07, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Who doesn’t love spaghetti?It’s delicious, versatile and one of the world’s favorite forms of pasta. Toppings and sauces come in every flavor and variety — and around...

Read More

LPOSD narrows down levy options

December 07, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — After hearing seven supplemental levy amount proposals from Superintendent Shawn Woodward, Lake Pend Oreille School District trustees narrowed it down to two possible dollar...

Read More