A trial scheduled this week for a DUI charge against Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse has been postponed after the state prosecutor filed a motion to pause proceedings to appeal the judge's decision to suppress certain evidence.
Just days before jury selection was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, prosecutor Darlene Ragoonanan filed the motion to pause proceedings on Feb. 2, court records indicate.
The motion to pause moving forward with the trial was accepted Monday, as was mandatory under Florida statutes, and both sides are to inform Circuit Court Judge Erika Quartermaine when a resolution has been decided on the appeal, according to court documents.
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The motion comes after Quartermaine ordered that statements made by Kruse to a Manatee County Sheriff's Office lieutenant wouldn't be allowed during trial and denied a motion to reconsider her decision. Quartermaine will allow the body camera footage without audio and other evidence that isn't testimonial to be admitted.
In April 2022, Kruse crashed his truck into a tree, and the incident became public after records and body camera videos revealed he was under investigation for driving while under the influence. Kruse pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During a mid-January hearing, attorneys on both sides argued whether or not statements made by Kruse admitting to Lt. Nicholas Pruitt that he was driving the truck during the accident would be admitted to court.
Attorney Jeffry A. Haynes argued that the lieutenant never indicated Kruse was under investigation nor read him his Miranda rights. Ragoonanan argued the motion should be denied because Kruse gave contradicting accounts of what happened to law enforcement and his insurance company, bringing into question his truthfulness.
Following Quartermaine's decision, Ragoonanan submitted a motion for reconsideration which was denied on Feb. 2, according to court records. That same day, Ragoonanan filed the stay and the appeal.
Gabriela Szymanowska covers the legal system for the Herald-Tribune in partnership with Report for America. You can support her work with a tax-deductible donation to Report for America. Contact Gabriela Szymanowska at email@example.com, or on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: DUI trial for Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse postponed