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Ward County State’s Attorney appeals dismissal of GSI charge against Donald Mitchell

The Ward County State’s Attorney’s Office is appealing the dismissal of a Class A felony gross sexual imposition charge against Donald James Dean Mitchell, 21, by North Central District court Judge Doug Mattson.

According to court documents, Mattson dismissed the case without prejudice in October 2020 after finding that there wasn’t probable cause for the case to move forward. The judge found that the officer who testified did not have first-hand knowledge of the event and had failed to identify the ages of Mitchell or the girl. The testifying officer had to review a police affidavit to determine Mitchell’s age and had testified that the girl might have been 15 or 16 when she was actually 14 at the time of the alleged crime on Dec. 1, 2018. Mitchell was 19 at the time.

Mattson dismissed the charge but said the state could refile the case against Mitchell.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court, a video depicting the girl and Mitchell was taken at a party by a juvenile boy and sent to several people and eventually to the girl. The 14-year-old girl was apparently under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Arguments in the appeal are scheduled for May 13 before the North Dakota Supreme Court.

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