Suit Dropped Against District Attorney

By: Brent Boynton
By: Brent Boynton

A federal judge has dropped a lawsuit against the Washoe County District Attorney. A former Washoe County deputy sheriff had claimed that District Attorney Dick Gammick and Assitant Distirct Attorney John Helzer retaliated against him.

It was filed by Rene Botello, who now works as a police officer for the Washoe County School district.

Bottello doesn't want to talk about it because he says his job could be in jeopardy. But his attorney, Terry Keyser-Cooper, says it all stems from a sexual assault case involving two young girls several years ago.

They were examined by a nurse in the CARES program.

We've done stories about CARES before. Nurses examine child assault victims and testify in court.

In this case, a nurse made a mistake by filing a report which indicated sexual assault.

Botello, who was employed at the Sheriff's Office at the time was the investigator on the case, took the girls to a hospital in California and came up with evidence they had not been assaulted.

That's where things went wrong between Botello and the D.A.'s office.

Botello's attorney says he was a whistleblower who sounded the alarm about a problem with a case . . . only to have the District Attorney try to get him fired.

Gammick says he's never done that and his office refuses to use testimony from Botello because of something in Botello's past.

On July 31st, the judge threw the case out, saying the district attorney has absolute immunity in prosecuting a case.

Keyser-Cooper says that doesn't apply to Botello, who she calls a hero laboring under an ongoing threat from the D.A.'s office.

She plans to file an appeal next week.

Gammick says he's tired of the lawsuit and he could sue Keyser-Cooper for malicious prosecution and abuse of process.

If the 9th Circuit Coart of Appeals takes up the case...it probably won't be for about a year.


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