JHC attorneys Jess W. Hoeme and Carrie E. Parker argued that their client, Dexter Betts, a former Wichita Police Officer, had legally fired his weapon in self-defense and was entitled to immunity.
Judge Kevin O’Connor dismissed the case against Betts in early November 2019, but the ruling was not made public until December 6. While prosecutors argued Betts acted recklessly and without regard on December 30, 2017, the judge said in the Order, “… the State has failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that the defendant’s use of force was not justified. Defendant is entitled to statutory immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action as a matter of law.” The court’s order is here.
Hoeme and Parker argued Officer Betts was responding to a very volatile situation and that in so doing he and the other officer who were ordered to go in the home and recover the weapon took all necessary precautions. The attorneys presented to the court statements by the mother and father of the young girl that the dog was aggressive and had a history of being very defensive. The mother also said in her statement that the dog was only doing what is was supposed to do and that she didn’t blame Officer Betts.
The State has elected to file an appeal with the Kansas Court of Appeals. Joseph, Hollander & Craft will represent Betts in the appeals process. Given the evidence presented, Hoeme believes the court of appeals will affirm the ruling.