GERING — Prosecutors have declined to pursue charges a second time against a man whose conviction on a charge of child enticement of a minor was remanded as the result of Nebraska Supreme Court ruling.
In March, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that a Scotts Bluff County District Court jury did not receive key instructions on an element of the crime of child enticement of a minor during the trial of Kobe Paez, 20. Paez had been convicted during a February 2018 trial on the charge.
The Attorney General’s Office, presented evidence during trial that Paez, 19 at the time, had been involved with a 14-year-old girl and had sent her sexually explicit text messages. The text messages were discovered after the girl had snuck out with Paez in July 2017. In the text messages, Paez indicated a desire to have sex with the girl. Actions of Paez when police began investigating showed he knew the girl was under the age of consent, Warner said.
At trial, Paez’s defense attorney, Sterling Huff, argued that Paez did not know the girl’s age and alleged she had lied about her age, saying she was 17 years old.
Paez had been sentenced to probation, with conditions that he not be allowed to use the internet except for employment or education purposes and that he be required to register as a sex offender. Paez appealed his conviction, arguing that the court erred in instructing the jury on the material elements of enticement by electronic communication. The jury should have considered whether Paez knew or believed the girl to be under the age of 16, his attorney argued. The Nebraska Supreme Court agreed and reversed the conviction and remanded the case back for trial.
A status hearing in the case had been scheduled for June 11. However, prosecutor Doug Warner, a deputy attorney with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, entered a dismissal, which online court records indicate were signed by Judge Andrea Miller and the hearing was canceled.
The Star-Herald reached out to Warner for information on the dismissal, but had not received a returned call as of press time.