U.S. District Judge David K. Winder has dismissed the indictment against a Roosevelt man who was accused of severely beating a baby - because the trial was scheduled six days too late.
However, Winder left the door open for charges to be filed again. And the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the case says the government will ask a grand jury to re-indict the defendant.Robert Tapoof was accused of beating Jeremey Arkansas, 2, on an Indian reservation. The indictment was handed up by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City on Aug. 24.
According to a federal briefing filed with the court, Jeremy Arkansas was placed with Tapoof and his wife in January 1987 by the Ute Tribal Social Services.
On Sept. 22, 1987, it says, the boy was taken to a Duchesne County Hospital. He was barely conscious and had "bruises on his face, chin, cheek and upper chest area," the brief says.
Later Tapoof claimed the boy fell off a piece of furniture, it says.
Doctors said the infant had "recent and older bleeding under his skull."
Government prosecutors, believing the injuries are more consistent with beating, asked for an indictment against Tapoof. The defendant was indicted, arraigned, then released on his own recognizance pending trial.
Under the Speedy Trial Act, a defendant must be tried within 70 days of his arraignment, unless he waives the date or some compelling reason can be shown for the delay. Neither of these happened, said the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Lubeck.
Now Winder has dismissed the indictment, writing that it was necessary to dismiss it because "the trial date was inadvertently scheduled 76 days after the defendant's arraignment."
However, the judge noted that based on the seriousness of the offense, the facts and circumstances of the case the dismissal should be "without prejudice," a legal term that allows for it to be refiled.
"We intend to present the evidence to the grand jury again and ask that he be re-indicted," Lubeck said Friday afternoon.