Carson City hearing set next week for accused child molester | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City hearing set next week for accused child molester

Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service

James Ernest Hope

MINDEN – Six years after he allegedly assaulted two sisters, convicted child molester James Ernest Hope is due in Carson City District Court on Monday to answer the charges.

Attorney Derrick Lopez, who represents Hope on a similar charge in Douglas County, told Douglas District Judge Michael Gibbons on Monday that he was trying to confirm that Carson City lawyer John Oakes would represent Hope as he has in the past.

Hope, 43, fled Nevada in 2004 while awaiting trial on five felony charges in Carson City. According to the victims, the assaults occurred in 2001 when the girls were ages 4 and 6.

Carson City authorities began investigating Hope in 2003 and charged him in 2004.

He disappeared shortly after Douglas County issued a warrant for his arrest in September 2004 after he allegedly improperly touched a 10-year-old Minden girl.

He was captured in Washington one year ago and convicted of felony child molestation in the first degree and gross misdemeanor communicating with a minor for immoral purposes for a separate offense.

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He is serving life in prison with the possibility of parole and could be eligible for release as early as 2011. His Washington parole depends on completion of a two-year treatment program for sex offenders and a psycho-sexual assessment that he is at low risk to offend.

Hope was returned to Douglas County in July where he is being held without bail.

He waived a preliminary hearing last month in East Fork Justice Court and was expected to plead to one count of lewdness with a child under 14.

At issue is the effect Hope’s Washington conviction would have on any sentence in Douglas County or Carson City.

In a plea agreement that Hope has not signed, Douglas County would drop the enhancement of life in prison without possibility of parole if he pleaded guilty to one count of lewdness with a child under 14.

That means he could be eligible for parole in 10 years if he were determined to be a low risk to reoffend.

In an unsigned agreement that Lopez received from Carson City, in exchange for Hope’s guilty plea to two of five felony charges, the other counts would be dropped along with the enhancement.

Carson City Assistant District Attorney Gerald Gardner said because no agreement has been reached here, when Hope appears in Carson court on Monday the prosecution will ask that the case be set for trial.

Hope would face life with possibility of parole after 10 years and a $10,000 fine on the Carson City charges.

Douglas District Judge Michael Gibbons set Hope’s arraignment for Nov. 5, following his Carson City appearance to determine what charges he’s facing there.