Judge rules on issues in Bantle case
Steamboat Springs — In preparation for trial, a motions hearing was held Friday for the former Steamboat Springs Police Department officer charged with felony attempting to influence a public servant.
The primary issue being ruled on by Judge Shelley Hill is whether certain evidence could be presented at Kristin Bantle’s trial.
Bantle’s attorney, Matthew Tjosvold, argued testimony related to a one-hour interview between Bantle and District Attorney’s Office investigator Doug Winters should not be allowed.
Winters testified the interview primarily focused on Bantle’s past drug use. Bantle was ultimately charged with providing false information related to drug use on an employment application submitted to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office in 2013.
Tjosvold said Bantle was in custody during the interview and should have been read her Miranda rights.
“Custody happened at the moment the door was closed and Mr. Winters and Ms. Bantle were in the interview alone,” Tjosvold said.
He said Bantle was coerced into answering the questions during the interview, which he characterized as an interrogation.
Bantle’s former attorney was with her during the interview and advised her that, if she did not answer the questions, she could lose her job.
Hill ultimately ruled Bantle was not in custody during the interview, and therefore, Miranda rights did not have to be read to her. Hill also ruled Bantle voluntarily answered the questions.
“The evidence today shows that the investigators tried to create a drug case that they couldn’t prove,” Tjosvold said after the hearing. “Since they had no drug case, they came up with these charges. Our effort today was to clarify the record and get rid of all of the misinformation before this case goes to trial.”
Bantle has pleaded not guilty, and her three-day jury trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1.
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