Huntley Rinck's Court Twist

On February 18th of this year, 4th Judicial District Court Judge John Fenn granted 53-year-old Huntley Rinck the right of Pro Se, or to represent himself. Rinck was charged late last year with Sexual Exploitation of Children after pornographic images were found on a hard drive he'd left in his work computer on October 12th, 2009. A subsequent search of Rinck's home computer found many images, and stories allegedly authored by Rinck that contained graphic sexual acts involving children.

Last Friday, sitting alone in his Detention Center orange, Rinck went before Judge Fenn and against Prosecutor for the State, Christopher LaRosa, with motions to suppress evidence included in the two warrants used to search his portable hard drive and home computer, and with a motion to request legal rules and materials.

On the first warrant, Rinck told Judge Fenn that the information in the warrants were not entirely true. He also refuted that his name was never specifically listed as author of or as a character in any of the sexual fantasy stories involving minors. He said the stories were written as a "literary exercise, much like Lolita."

On the second warrant, Rinck told the court that he felt the person who gave information on the affidavit misrepresented pictures he'd seen on Rinck's hard drive and that they were not "prurient" -- or lustful. LaRosa countered that the images were indeed prurient and that it was quite evident the owner of the hard drive, Rinck, has an interest in sex with children.

Judge Fenn denied the motion to suppress on both warrants.

The court next moved on to Rinck's motion to request various Wyoming court rules books and other legal materials to help him in his Pro Se defense. La Rosa argued that Rinck had waived his right to counsel and now he's requesting legal aids. The three spent about thirty minutes arguing concerns and issues of fairness. LaRosa said that Rinck did injury to himself by seeking Pro Se, especially when he was highly cautioned at his February 18th hearing of how doing so would handicap his defense.

Judge Fenn asked Rinck if he would like to reconsider the motion for Pro Se. Rinck responded that "depending on what you decide, I might." County Attorney Matt Redle then stepped in and suggested Rinck contact the Defender Aid students at the UW School of Law to see if they might assist him. Redle felt that his office was being put into a two-sides-of-the-fence position to help the person they're prosecuting. Judge Fenn denied the motion for the request of rules and legal materials and backed up Redle's suggestion to contact Defender Aid, saying, "good luck in getting them to champion your cause."

Fenn then asked Rinck if he would like to get other counsel, and in a move no one saw coming, Rinck said, "With the Court's permission, I would like to change my plea." He handed a scrawled piece of legal paper to the State indicating he would like to plead Nolo Contendere or No Contest. After spending another fifteen minutes trying to decide how to handle that unexpected turn, Judge Fenn decided to set a future date for Rinck to make a formal motion to change his plea, and court was adjourned.

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