Michelle Rivera, a Clark County attorney and a chief law officer for the past seven years, was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication inside of the courtroom. While boozing it up in the courtroom is obviously frowned upon, it is the result of her drunkenness that really is troubling.
According to a criminal report, Rivera was “slurring her words and stumbling on her feet,” and “sat in a chair and swayed her head back and [forth], actions common with being intoxicated.”
Because Rivera was throwing back liquor, she never filed an extension in the case she was overseeing. That meant that a confessed pedophile had his charges dropped and case dismissed, according to the Washington Post. The man, Dennis Simmerman, was charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy and was set to plead guilty to a Class D felony.
Instead, he walked free.
But Rivera never filed the extension. Simmerman’s lawyer responded with a motion to dismiss the case. This week, Judge Marti Mertz had no other choice but to grant it. Despite being a confessed pedophile, Dennis Simmerman would walk He did spend 15 months in jail. Prosecutors can also attempt to hit him with different charges. But the original charges are now permanently off the table.
Since the incident, Rivera has attempted to save face with the public while she was running for reelection.
“I genuinely apologize to my family, friends, law enforcement, colleagues, and my community for all that transpired last Thursday,” Rivera wrote in an apology, via the Des Moines Register. “I can assure you all that I am taking every step necessary to get help, to fix this problem, and to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
She lost her reelection, to the surprise of few.
And while she vowed to never be in a situation like that again, she was arrested last week on suspicion of operating while under the influence and child endangerment after dropping her daughter off at daycare and nearly crashing into a car at the courthouse.
From the Des Moines Register:
Rivera was taken to Clarke County Jail where she again declined to provide a breath sample. The deputy said after talking with Rivera, he figured that she had taken her daughter to daycare that same day. The child is not believed to have been in the car when the erratic-driver call came in, but the officer surmised that Rivera was operating while intoxicated when dropping the girl off.
It’s probably for the best that she won’t be overseeing any cases anytime soon.