Salt Lake County prosecutors can reinstate charges against a woman arrested on suspicion of drunken driving who then allegedly kicked an officer in the stomach, the Utah Court of Appeals has ruled.

Third District Judge Frank Noel had earlier dismissed an assault-on-an-officer charge against Jessie Jiminez, based on a defense contention that crucial evidence had been destroyed.The evidence at issue was a videotape taken as a normal part of Salt Lake County Jail booking procedures, and erased and taped over. The alleged assault occurred March 14, 1987, while Jiminez was being booked on a driving under the influence charge.

But the Appeals Court, in a unanimous ruling written by Judge Norman Jackson, reversed Noel's decision.

"Since Jiminez offered no evidence that a videotape of the alleged assault was made or of what it most likely showed, no one knows whether there was any evidence," Jackson said. "All defendant has is a mere possibility that there was something recorded which might have helped her defense."

Noel's order of dismissal was vacated and the case returned to the lower court for prosecution.