By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A man improperly charged as an adult for actions he allegedly committed as a minor is asking the Wyoming Supreme Court to determine whether the case against him should be dismissed.
Robert Charles Rosen, who the court ruled in January should not have been charged as an adult on allegations he improperly touched a woman, is arguing there is no way for the harm done to him by the improper charging to be reversed with new court proceedings.
“Mr. Rosen has suffered irreparable harm due to the state’s violation of (charging laws),” said a petition he filed with the court on Wednesday. “His name is forever associated with the allegations in this case, which any member of of the public can easily see simply by looking his name up on the internet.”
In January, the court ruled that Rosen was improperly charged as an adult with third degree sexual assault and false imprisonment over an incident that occurred when he was 17.
According to court documents, Rosen was accused of touching a female friend’s breasts and buttocks without her permission.
However, he was not charged in the incident until more than a year later, when he was 18. Because he was 18, he was charged as an adult.
Justices unanimously agreed that the decision of whether Rosen should be charged as an adult or juvenile should have been determined by the date of the alleged incident, not the date of his arrest.
The Supreme Court ordered a lower court to hold a hearing to determine whether Rosen’s case should be sent to juvenile court. Proceedings in juvenile court are blocked from public review.
But Rosen argued the improper actions of prosecutors had an irreversible impact on his life.
“For the rest of his life, Mr. Rosen will have to live with the charges against him in this case for conduct that is alleged to have occurred while he was a minor,” his petition said. “The damage cannot be undone.”
If the Supreme Court decides the proper remedy for Rosen is to dismiss the charges against him, it should make that decision before the transfer hearing is held, his petition said.
“The ends of justice require review of this issue prior to a transfer hearing and prior to a trial, as neither a transfer hearing nor a trial would provide the relief sought in this petition,” it said. “Further, neither party should have to incur the emotional and financial costs of those proceedings if the appropriate remedy is dismissal …”