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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Judge: Wernimont questioning did not violate constitutional rights

Monday, December 10, 2012

A pretrial hearing has been set for Dec. 20 for Cory Wernimont, Rembrandt, who has been facing 66 charges of sexual abuse against two teenage girls. A plea offer already on the table was extended to December 10.

The trial was to take place in late November, but new evidence has been produced in a DNA report, and Wernimont's attorney has requested additional time to consult an independent lab for analysis.

If Wernimont does not accept a plea bargain, the continued case is scheduled to begin trial Jan. 8.

Wernimont's attorney recently filed a motion to suppress, alleging issues with an initial interview conducted with Wernimont by sheriff's deputies.

Court documents indicate that officers found Wernimont working in a farmyard, and an initial interview was done in an informal fashion, while Wernimont mostly sat on a flatbed trailer outdoors. During that interview, he reportedly denied any criminal action with the girl initially reported as having had sexual contact with Wernimont. Afterward, Wernimont was reportedly arrested, read his rights, and told that officers had a search warrant for the property. While the search warrant was being executed, Wernimont was questioned by another officer, and reportedly admitted to one sexual act.

Wernimont's attorney claims the statement was obtained by "coercion" with the deputy continuing to question him despite repeated requests to "leave him alone."

The attorney questioned the officers' tactics in not immediately reading Wernimont his rights and informing him of the search warrant, and suggested that his Fifth Amendment constitutional rights had been violated.

The judge disagreed, ruling that Wernimont's statements to officers were made voluntarily, and overruled the motion to suppress.

Documents have also been filed to guide questioning at trial, mostly noting areas of past behavior and character unrelated to the current allegations that should be avoided in questioning the defendant, the alleged victims and witnesses.

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