Friday, June 09, 2023

Sandpoint man acquitted of charges

Staff Writer | May 22, 2022 1:00 AM

Editor's note: This story has been corrected for an error of fact in the amount of time the jury deliberated.

SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man was acquitted of two counts of sexual assault by a Bonner County jury this week.

Jesse Samuel Hines, 34, was acquitted on a count of child sexual abuse and a count of lewd conduct on Thursday following 4 1/2 hour of deliberation by the jury.

The June 2021 indictment of Hines and other court documents were sealed by the court due to their sensitive nature.

Charges against Hines stem from allegations taking place on Jan. 1, and April 4, 2021, although court documents containing specific details remain sealed.

Hines was arrested on June 28, 2021, but posted $100,000 bond three days later on July 1 with the help of a bonding agency.

He was stripped of his public defender later in July as the court found that he was not indigent, however, a public defender was re-appointed to him in February 2022.

Hines pleaded not guilty to both charges on Aug. 5, 2021.

On May 11, state prosecution made a motion to exclude 11 people from testifying, asserting that most only had second-hand knowledge of the allegations, and that they would speak negatively about the victim’s character, or positively of Hines’ character.

Many, but not all, were excluded from testifying at this week’s four-day trial. On Monday, 12 jurors were excused before a final panel was assembled. The state called six witnesses, including the victim, who was on the stand for four hours. The defense also called six witnesses, including Hines, waiving his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent; he was on the stand for an hour and a half.

Court documents indicate that testimony involving sleep talking would be dismissed from evidence. At least six pieces of evidence were admitted during trial including photos, videos, hand-written notes, and interviews with law enforcement.

The jury deliberated for 18 minutes before returning a not guilty verdict on both counts, acquitting Hines of all charges in this case.

Hines has eight previous criminal cases in Idaho containing charges of disturbing the peace, possession of a controlled substance, and failure to have a driver's license.

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