An Iowa prosecutor allegedly came to court drunk for the second time in three months—an ordeal that recently led a judge to dismiss the state’s case against a man who admitted to sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.
According to the Des Moines Register, Clarke County attorney Michelle Rivera, 42, was arrested Friday on suspicion of operating while intoxicated and child endangerment charges. An officer took Rivera into custody at the courthouse, moments after she was reportedly spotted nearly striking a pedestrian and running a stop sign.
Court records obtained by the news outlet stated that Rivera declined to take a breathalyzer but field sobriety tests indicated she was intoxicated. Police determined it was likely she was intoxicated when she drove her daughter to daycare earlier that day, resulting in the child endangerment charge.
On Monday, Judge Marti Mertz wrote that Rivera’s no-show for a recent hearing involving Dennis Simmerman, 23, “was the finale following unexplained periods of inactivity and lack of responsiveness.” Also citing her most recent arrest, the judge then threw out pending criminal charges against Simmerman, who was charged in September 2017 with sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.
It was October 18 when Simmerman planned to plead guilty to third-degree sexual abuse and disseminating obscene material to a minor by telephone. However, he was unable to because Rivera, who was prosecuting the case, was arrested inside the courthouse for suspicion of public intoxication, according to the Register.
KCCI reported that Simmerman had been jailed for 15 months while awaiting trial. A criminal complaint indicated that he admitted to deputies that he engaged in a sexual act with the 13-year-old. Despite this, the state is barred from re-filing charges against Simmerman in light of Monday’s dismissal.
The Register noted that a day after Rivera’s October 18 arrest, prosecutors didn’t file a deadline to provide Simmerman with his right to a speedy trial nor did they file a request for an extension.
Reports indicated that Rivera, a Democrat, lost her re-election bid in November. The outgoing prosecutor has yet to comment on last week’s arrest or Monday’s dismissal.
[Featured Image: Michelle Rivera/Clarke County Jail via AP]