Several days ago, after pursuing denied motions to suppress evidence and a motion to acquire legal materials to aid his Pro Se defense, Huntley Rinck startled the Court by submitting a Motion to make a plea change to "Nolo Contendere" -- or No Contest -- on a charge of one count of Sexual Exploitation of Children. Sheridan Media's Mary Jo Johnson has the update.
Tuesday morning and into the afternoon in Sheridan County District Court, Judge John Fenn held a hearing. Christopher LaRosa, representing the State, had submitted a motion to supplement the record with evidence for the Nolo Contendere plea, which the Court allowed.
At issue was whether there had been enough probable cause for search warrants to be issued to look at Rinck's private USB drive and his personal computer. LaRosa's first witness was Mohammed Waseem Khan, who, along with his father, run the Quality Inn in Sheridan. Khan testified that Huntley Rinck was employed as a night auditor and desk agent there last October.
On the morning of October 11th, Khan arrived at work between 8 and 9 am, after Rinck had left from his night shift. Khan entered the Manager's office, to which Rinck was not allowed access, and found Rinck's USB in the office computer. Since there were no identifying marks on it, Khan opened a file and saw a document that had Rinck's name on it. He also verified that it was Rinck's by checking with other employees who recognized it from Rinck having left it at work in the past.
Khan testified that the file contained writings about children having sexual encounters with adults, and he further found files with pornographic images of both young boys and young girls. Khan called his father, who in turn called the Sheridan Police Department.
LaRosa also called Bruce Dexter to testify. Dexter is a special agent with the Department of Criminal Investigation assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Cheyenne. Dexter told the Court that he used forensic software to examine copies of the files found on the USB. He verified that the writings and images were indeed pornographic in nature with minors as the subject, and entered examples into evidence. For his part, Rinck told Judge Fenn that opinion of the images varied from person to person, and he did not consider them to be pornographic.
LaRosa told Judge Fenn that the warrants did not violate 4th Amendment Search and Seizure protections because Rinck had left the USB on more than one occasion at a commercial property for anyone to find, thereby lacking a subjective level of privacy.
Judge Fenn then asked Rinck if he still wanted to change his plea. Rinck agreed, and formally plead "Nolo Contendere with Condition Plea." A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted and a sentencing date will be set for the near future. Judge Fenn also revoked Rinck's bond.