INDEPENDENCE – Prosecutors are challenging a defense request for special jury instructions in charges stemming from an April crash involving reality TV star Chris Soules.
Soules, 36, of rural Arlington, is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident in the collision north of Aurora that killed 66-year-old Kenneth Mosher.
Soules’ attorneys in December had asked the court to produce jury instructions explaining how long a driver must remain at the scene of a fatal crash, specifically requesting that the instruction state "a surviving driver must remain at the scene of the accident only until the surviving driver has contacted law enforcement, provided identification, and ensured the deceased individual is receiving care or is being attended to.”
The defense also asked for an instruction that prohibits jurors making any inference from a Soules’ decision not to engage with law enforcement and states that Soules wasn’t required to speak with law enforcement.
On Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown filed a resistance, saying the instructions were designed to narrow the different legal theories in the case
“It is important to recognize that the defense has continually attempted to force the state to elect one single legal theory or alternative over another. … The court’s marshaling instruction should include and the jury should be instructed on any legal theory or alternative supported by the facts at trial,” Brown wrote in his reply.
“If the defendant had a constitutional right to leave the scene of the fatal crash and never interact with law enforcement, then the state could not require him to remain/return and this charge would be dismissed. If the defendant had no such right, then the legislature could require him to remain at (or return to) the scene of this crash, and the state can prosecute him for failing to do so,” Brown wrote.
Trial had been scheduled to begin Thursday in Buchanan County District Court in Independence, but the trial was postponed, and a new date will be set later this month.