Assault charges pending for seven years against Sequim business owner Jay Ketchum were dismissed Dec. 10 in Clallam County Superior Court.
The case was in limbo from Aug. 4, 2003, until October 2010 when it was reopened at the request of Port Angeles attorney J. Andrew Lauer.
Court documents show Ketchum was charged in May 2002 with second-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon and assault in the third degree after he allegedly chest-bumped a Clallam County Sheriff’s deputy and pointed an assault rifle at him during a confrontation. Ketchum was acquitted of the first charge and a mistrial was declared when the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on the second, according to court documents.
In 2003, charges were refiled by a special prosecutor, Carol Case, who was appointed due to a conflict of interest with Clallam County Prosecutor Deb Kelly, and the case proceeded through jury selection when it suddenly ended without any written resolution on record.
After several hearings from October 2010 through December 2010, Clallam County Superior Court Judge Ken Williams signed a stipulated order recalling the unrecorded agreement reached in August 2003. The order was presented by Special Prosecuting Attorney Juelanne Dalzell.
Kelly’s office did not participate in the case because Ketchum has contributed to her campaigns for prosecutor since 2002.
The stipulated order recalled a two-year continuance for dismissal was entered on Aug. 4, 2003, but never put in writing. According to the signed order, the agreement was as follows: Ketchum waived his right to a speedy trial for two years and agreed to have no further violations of the law during that period. If he did violate the law, the case would proceed to trial.
Additionally Ketchum forfeited his right to a firearm during the two-year period, agreed to consult a counselor about the stress in his life and agreed to an anger management evaluation.
The charges were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled, on Dec. 10 by Williams.
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