CREATED Jun. 5, 2013
Omaha, NE - A former Nathan Hale middle school teacher, convicted of child abuse involving a student, wants a new trial. That request came as a judge was scheduled to sentence Shad Knutson.
The defense wants a judge to reverse a jury ruling or an entire new trial because they claim, one victim's testimony was not consistent. Among a list of issues, that's not their only complaint.
Defense lawyer Tom Riley wants a judge to take second look at the convictions against his client, Shad Knutson. "There are some issues in this case that are developing as we speak," says Riley, "I want the court to rule on the constitutionality on a couple of the statutes he was charged with."
Prosecutors charged Knutson with sexual assault with the use of an electronic device and child abuse.
Riley says his client shouldn't be convicted for child abuse. "They didn't charge him with a sexual assault, they charged him with child abuse but the basis of the child abuse was a reported sexual assault of inappropriate touching," explains Riley.
By law, the state couldn't charge Knutson with both sexual assault and sexual assault with the use of a communication device. Riley says the child abuse charge, was just a way for the state to add on charges.
County prosecutor Don Kleine disagrees. "In this case, he requested a girl to send him photographs of herself without clothes on or send him photos of her breasts," says Kleine. He explains the acts would be separate from sexual assault and it would qualify as child pornography which falls under child abuse.
Riley also argues that law enforcement did not follow the fourth amendment when they subpoenaed phone records. According to Riley, his client should have the right to privacy unless a warrant is issued. Prosecutor Kleine says law enforcement does have a right to subpoena phone records. He's not worried about that challenge.
Filing a motion for a new trial is nothing unusual. The defense has until June 11 to file a brief that explains why they want a new trial. If the request is denied, Knutson will be sentenced on June 26. He'll stay in custody until then.