This post was originally published on Forbes May 18, 2015
There was some hope that Kent Hovind and Paul Hansen who came into a federal courtroom in Pensacola in shackles this morning might have been set free. People with such hopes are likely disappointed, but those who have been following the case are hardly surprised.
They have decided that they can get whatever they want out of this case at sentencing on the counts where the jury convicted at trial. Dismissing the mistried counts allows the case to proceed promptly to sentencing on the convictions. The "without prejudice" stipulation protects the govt -- allowing potential reinstatement later, that is -- in the event that the conviction counts are overturned on appeal following sentencing. It is possible that this was prompted, in part, by the recent defense motion challenging the remaining counts and pointed out some of their weak spots, but not necessarily. The govt rarely backs down from a legal fight unless they are clearly going to lose, and I didn't think it was so clear.
One thing, though, that you might check is whether the Government still has an open statute of limitations based on the last act relevant to each Count being dismissed. My recollection is that the statute may be open, but don’t know that.
And, I suppose that, if the Judge feels it appropriate, she could signal the Government that it is now time to call a halt to all of this.