Defense attorney George Best, representing Kalispell businessman Dick Dasen—who’s charged with numerous counts of soliciting prostitution, sexual intercourse without consent and sexual abuse—pitched a slew of motions to Flathead County District Court Judge Stewart Stadler, but Stadler denied all but one (a minor technicality) of the motions Friday, Dec. 10.
Prior to his arrest earlier this year, Dasen was considered a pillar of the community, one of Kalispell’s most successful and wealthy businessmen, a church leader and a United Way “community hero.” Dasen was given leave by the court to reside in Arizona prior to his trial, which is slated to begin in late January.
In court, Best argued that Stadler should dismiss the entire proceedings against Dasen because, he said, Dasen’s right to a speedy trial has been violated.
Stadler ruled that, given the mountains of evidence prosecuting attorneys have amassed and shared with the defense, 336 days is not an unreasonable amount of time to wait, noting that Dasen hasn’t spent so much as one night in jail.
Claims that the delay was causing Dasen undue anxiety were met with little sympathy from Stadler.
“Of course there’s anxiety,” the judge said. “He’s charged with numerous felonies.”
Stadler also denied Best’s request that much of the state’s evidence be suppressed, even as he acknowleged that the original search warrant used against Dasen was unconstitutional.
In ruling against a motion for a change of venue, Stadler agreed with the defense that there was “no question” that some local press coverage has been inflammatory. Still, Stadler said, prefacing his comments with an apology to reporters in the room, “There’s a lot of people in this valley that don’t watch television and don’t read the newspaper” who could serve on an unbiased jury.
In other words, the least informed segment of the Flathead’s population (not you, if you’re reading this) will soon be called upon for judgement.