JUDGE RULES DISMISSED DRUG CHARGES CAN BE REFILED IN THE FUTURE

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

Dawes County CourthouseDawes County District Judge Travis O’Gorman has decided to allow the state to dismiss two drug charges against Douglas Waterman of Chadron without prejudice, meaning that they can be refiled in the future.

O’Gorman had agreed last week to a motion from County Attorney Vance Haug to dismiss the charges of possession of a controlled substance and possesion with intent to distribute while possessing a firearm, but delayed a decision on whether Haug could re-file them at a later date.

Haug had asked for the dismissal even though the case was set for trial next month because an ongoing investigation had led to 6 other felony charges being filed against Waterman in another case.

Defense attorney Mike Varn had pushed for the initial charges to be dismissed with prejudice…meaning they could not be refiled.

He cited a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling barring dismissal without prejudice just so new charges could be filed, but Haug said the ongoing investigation had reveal new information justifying new charges.

The charges in the newer case not involved in the dismissal arguments include 4 counts of delivery or possession with intent to deliver and single counts of conspiracy and using a minor to distribute a controlled substance.

The court file shows authorities believe Waterman conspired with two other defendants…Rachel Zeller and Daryl Mendenhall…to drive to Denver every other day for 3 months to buy medical marijuana, which they then resold in Dawes County.

Waterman is scheduled for an appearance in Dawes County Court next Wednesday with his new attorney, interim County Public Defender Jon Worthman of Alliance.

Worthman was appointed by the county commissioners to succeed Paul Wess, who resigned after his appointment earlier in the month as a county judge.