Burnett County Sheriff: Huggett Case No Fault of Department’s Work
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided to uphold the dismissal of the case against Minneapolis firefighter Kyle Huggett who admitted to shooting John Peach, 29, at a rural Danbury residence in January of 2008.
Judge James Babbitt found that Burnett County Officials improperly listen to and transcribed a series of voicemails exchanged between Peach and Huggett. Eventually, the messages were lost. The messages were said to contain threats made by Peach against Huggett.
Judge Babbitt stated that not having the messages as evidence prohibited Huggett from a fair trial.
Burnett County Sheriff Dean Roland tells Red Rock Radio the lost evidence is of no fault of the sheriff’s department.
The State argued against the case’s dismissal, claiming Huggett was not entitled to any remedy because the voicemail messages were not in the State’s exclusive control and comparable evidence was available. Furthermore, they argued that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion by dismissing the case rather than ordering a less severe remedy.
The court of appeals rejected the State’s arguments.
Burnett County District Attorney William Norine told Red Rock Radio on Tuesday that the Wisconsin Department of Justice does still have the option of appealing the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He said it is undetermined whether or not the Department of Justice will take such actions.
Roland says he would like to see the case go to the Supreme Court.
Roland says he can understand frustration in the community, adding that he welcomes a conversation with Peach’s family.
Huggett is back with the Minneapolis Fire Department, according to his attorney Craig Mastantuono.