A motion to dismiss charges or release the accused pending trial in a felony aggravated kidnapping case was denied on Monday.
Caden Rodney Peterson, 28, was charged in 1st District Court last year with first-degree aggravated kidnapping, second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree domestic violence in the presence of a child. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Oct. 13 and is currently being held in the Cache County Jail without bail.
During Peterson’s appearance in court on Monday, defense attorney Joe Saxton argued for either dismissal of the charges or his client’s release from the jail, citing speedy-trial rights violations. According to Saxton, Peterson has been incarcerated for several months without access to a jury trial as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on the court.
“My client has been in jail for half a year,” Saxton told the court, and there was still no “trial on the horizon.”
Saxton told the court his client had no criminal history, and the alleged victim in the case had recanted several allegations. Saxton argued the lack of criminal history and recanted statements should remove concern that Peterson is a danger to the public.
Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard argued the motion to dismiss or release was a “disingenuous” attempt to circumvent prior court orders. Hazard acknowledged that the alleged victim in the case had recanted allegations and had addressed the court in prior hearings, but the court still denied Peterson’s release from jail.
“That’s true,” Hazard said, “and the court denied that.”
According to Hazard, the case would have to be delayed around 12 months before triggering a speedy-trial analysis. What’s more, Hazard argued, the case was never actually delayed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions but postponed five times at the defendant’s request.
Saxton said the case would have been set for trial had the option been available.
According to Hazard, hundreds of inmates are being held without bail, without access to jury trials, and their cases are being delayed all across the state.
“That delay should not be attributed to the federal branch of the government,” Hazard said, explaining a dismissal of Peterson’s case would “be denying the public justice.”
The alleged victim briefly addressed the court again on Monday. She asked the court for Peterson’s release and for other contact restrictions to be lifted.
“I think he should be out,” the victim told the court.
Judge Brandon Maynard denied the motion to dismiss and said he had not been persuaded to release Peterson. Maynard said there was merit to the argument, but evidence would be needed to modify the prior court orders holding Peterson in jail.
Peterson was booked into jail on Sept. 17 after authorities alleged that a verbal dispute intensified and Peterson used a zip tie to strangle the alleged victim unconscious.
Peterson “grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into another room,” police officers wrote in an affidavit, “where he zip tied her wrists to a piece of furniture and began punching her body and face.”
According to the affidavit, police found the victim to have significant injuries: bruising, markings around her neck, and a small patch of hair missing from her scalp.
Peterson is set to appear for a pretrial conference on March 22.