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Court dismisses charges against George Alan Kelly

Ruling by Judge Thomas Fink: "the only thing to be accomplished by a dismissal without prejudice...is harassment of the Defendant."
Posted at 12:58 PM, Jul 09, 2024

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Santa Cruz County rancher George Alan Kelly will not face trial again for the second-degree murder of Mexican National Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, at whom Kelly says he fired warning shots on his ranchland.

After the jury failed to reach a verdict back in April, prosecution said that the state would not seek a retrial for the killing, and motioned for the court to dismiss the case without prejudice—meaning, in the event that new evidence or testimony arises, the state could in fact re-try Kelly.

Primarily, prosecution argued that future media interviews by Kelly could produce new testimony or evidence, or that unknown witnesses could surface that would lead a jury to a conviction.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys met again in court in early June, with the defense motioning to dismiss the case permanently. Judge Thomas Fink did not make a ruling at the time.

Fink's decision, released Tuesday, July 9, sided with the defense, stating "the court finds that the State is not able to articulate a reasonable basis for holding this case 'open' with a dismissal without prejudice."

Fink further wrote that the circumstances cited by the prosecution are unlikely to produce a conviction:

"The interests of justice are not served by the dismissal without prejudice for case that cannot and will not be re-tried. The interests of justice are not advanced where the only thing to be accomplished by a dismissal without prejudice, where there is not possibility that a re-trial will occur, is the harassment of the Defendant. For those reasons, the interests of justice call for finality.

"The State's motion to dismiss without prejudice is denied. In the interests of justice the case is ordered dismissed with prejudice."