The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Monday that the statute of limitations doesn't protect Johnny Bustamonte from prosecution stemming from an incident in which he allegedly tried to run down an employee of Ron Weddell.
The case was ordered back to district court with instructions that Bustamonte can be prosecuted for the charges.
The incident at Carson City businessman Weddell's construction yard started his battle with Carson sheriff's deputies and the district attorney's office over their attempt to prosecute Weddell for attempting to shoot Bustamonte's brother, Jaime, while trying to make a citizen's arrest. Charges are still pending against Weddell for that shooting incident.
The charges contained in a rare Carson grand jury indictment were dismissed in district court because the indictment was filed after the three-year statute of limitations had expired. The high court disagreed saying the statute of limitations stopped when Weddell filed a criminal complaint against Bustamonte in September 2000 -- just one month before the statute of limitations expired.
"Our conclusion is in accord with the majority of jurisdictions that hold the filing of a valid complaint tolls the statute of limitations and, therefore, the subsequent return of an indictment for those offenses filed after the limitations period is not time barred," says the order signed by Justices Cliff Young, Deborah Agosti and Myron Leavitt.
It points out that Weddell's complaint alleged several criminal offenses, specified the date, who was involved, the location of the alleged crimes and gave essential facts to support those allegations.
Weddell himself is still facing possible prosecution for assault with a deadly weapon after the high court ruled that a private citizen cannot use deadly force to try make a citizen's arrest. He tried to arrest Jaime Bustamonte after sheriff's deputies didn't show up to arrest him following the incident at Weddell's construction business.
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