WI: Hunter exempt from animal cruelty charges
Judge dismisses deer cruelty charges
Rory Kuenzi still faces lessor
Monday, 29 Jun 2009
WAUPACA - Hours after prosecutors declined to dismiss any charges against
Rory Kuenzi, Waupaca County Judge Philip Kirk issued an order dismissing
felony animal cruelty charges.
Kuenzi is one of three men charged in Waupaca County with allegedly
running down deer on snowmobiles, killing them last winter.
The ruling Monday reflects a similar decision in a co-defendent's case.
The animal cruelty charges against Robby Kuenzi - Rory's brother - were
dismissed several weeks ago after his attorney successfully argued that
state law prohibits cruelty charges against those who are hunting. The judge
ruled since prosecutors filed several misdemeanor and ordinance violations,
alleging such crimes as hunting without a license and hunting during a
closed season, that the animal cruelty charges be dismissed.
The county has asked the Attorney General's office to appeal the decision
in Robby Kuenzi's case. A spokesman said Monday no decision about an appeal
had been made.
Rory Kuenzi's attorney then made the same arguments, but to a different
judge. Last week, Judge Philip Kirk gave the Waupaca County District
Attorney's office until today to make a decision. But in a letter to the
judge filed this morning, Asst. D.A. Jim Fassbender said he stands by his
original charging decision and would not dismiss any counts.
Fassbender declined to comment further.
Early Monday afternoon, Judge Kirk followed through on comments he made
in court last week and dismissed the felony animal cruelty charges.
Each of the six animal cruelty counts carried a maximum penalty of 3
years, 6 months in prison, if convicted. The misdemeanor offenses could
result in jail time and ordinance violations can only result in fines.
A third man, Nicholas Hermes, faces a similar set of charges. He returns
to court July 22.
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