PAYETTE COUNTY — A Fruitland man who was accused of crimes of a sexual nature with a minor had his entire case dismissed. An order to dismiss was filed in the Third Judicial Court in Payette County on Jan. 31. The original charges were five felony counts, which included rape and sexual battery of a minor. The latest decision came after the court heard the dismissal motion made in the case against Kelly Rhinehart.
A request for comments from the judge were declined, as they are not part of the public record since the case has been dismissed without prejudice.
Initially, the State claimed that the defense’s motion to dismiss was too vague and did not have any real legal support.
Rhinehart, 52 was facing five felony counts, including rape, one count of sexual battery of a minor (defined as lewd or lascivious acts) and three counts of sexual battery of a minor (defined as sexual contact but not lewd).
A status conference hearing was slated for Monday, but that was cancelled after the court’s order to dismiss was signed off on by District Judge Davis VanderVelde of Canyon County.
Payette County Judge Susan Wiebe issued a voluntary order of disqualification on Aug. 16, 2019.
On Nov. 12, the defense filed a 30-page motion to dismiss to the court, claiming six reasons why they believe the case should be dismissed.
On Dec. 12, the state responded to the motion to dismiss, saying “the state requests the court to dismiss the motion to dismiss” and included responses to all six points the defense submitted.
“Rhinehart’s argument for dismissal was overly general and alleged due process violations without providing legal support,” the state’s response to the motion reads. “The likely reason Rhinehart was not able to imbue his motion with legal support is that Idaho Criminal Rule 6.6 lists four specific grounds for dismissal of an indictment. Rhinehart did not move to dismiss under any of the enumerated ground as they do not apply in this case.”
The defense later submitted a rebuttal to the response on Dec. 20.