Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against Dawnna Dukes

UPDATE: A Travis County District Judge has denied Dawnna Dukes' motion to dismiss four of the fourteen felony charges brought up against her. 

Lawyers for the state argued the charges are valid and that Dukes waived the statute of limitations in writing. The state also said the case was ready to go in September and that time had even been scheduled for a Grand Jury to hear the case.

 


 

State Representative Dawnna Dukes appeared in a Travis County court room on Wednesday. Her lawyers are arguing 4 of the 14 felony charges against her should be dropped.

Without explanation, Dukes used a walker to make her way into the hearing. The accessory was unexpected.

As Dukes did not rely on it in during her last hearing on January 18.  That is when she pleaded not guilty to 13 felony counts of tampering with government evidence. She is also being charged with 2 misdemeanor counts that she abused her power. The allegations were launched last Spring.

During the hearing, her lawyers argued that 4 of those felony charges should be dropped because the dates associated with them, October 3, 2013 and November 30, 2014 are too old. They say the statute of limitations on them has run out.

Lawyers for the state argued the charges are valid and that Dukes waived the statute of limitations in writing. The state also said the case was ready to go in September and that time had even been scheduled for a Grand Jury to hear the case.

Cameras were only permitted in the court room for 2 minutes of the hearing. During the latter part of the hearing prosecutors for the state outlined why they believed the charges were valid.

It’s also outlined in court paperwork. The state alleges Dukes' then attorney, Mike contacted them in late September about holding off on the indictment. They say her lawyer even sent over a signed and notarized letter waiving her statute of limitations. They say Dukes wanted to delay the case so she could wait and resign in January 2017 because “it would enhance her pension under the state retirement plan.”

The state argued in court that waiver is vaild.  They contend they never made a deal and there's nothing in the agreement that promises they'll never prosecute.

Dukes did not comment on the hearing when she entered the court room. She did not comment upon leaving either. She was accompanied by 2 lawyers. One of them Dane Bell did speak to reporters on their way out. “It was a very simple legal motion that sought dismissal on 4 charges. The judge is going to rule within a  month. In between now and then we are going to continue to preparing for trial, and that’s really all I can say right now.”

The Honorable Brad Urutia is presiding over this case. He has scheduled the next hearing for April 19. He says he will have a ruling by or before then.

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