A Johnson County judge has dismissed the domestic battery case against Overland Park City Councilmember Scott Hamblin.
In a hearing Thursday in Johnson County District Court conducted remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge James Phelan dismissed the case after denying Assistant District Attorney Samantha Shannon’s motion for a continuance.
However, Phelan left open the possibility that prosecutors could reopen the case at some point in the future.
Shannon sought a continuance because, she said, an Overland Park police officer who is a key witness in the case is quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19 and would be unable to testify.
Court records show it was the second time prosecutors asked for a continuance of the trial. The first continuance in November was granted so the alleged victim could be served.
On Thursday, Judge Phelan also rejected Shannon’s motion to issue a material witness warrant that would have allowed investigators to arrest the alleged victim in order to compel her to testify in the trial.
In emailed comments to the Post, Shannon said the victim had not responded to “extensive efforts” by investigators to serve the victim a subpoena.
“Unfortunately, in cases of domestic violence it is not uncommon for victims of abuse to refuse to cooperate with the prosecution,” Shannon wrote.
In Thursday’s hearing, the Kansas City Star reported that Hamblin’s lawyer Kevin Regan said the victim had never been personally served a subpoena and that serving the warrant would be “victimizing the victim.”
In a statement to the Post, Regan said, “Mr. Hamblin and his family are grateful for the Court’s ruling. Mr. Hamblin looks forward to continuing to serve his constituents with great dedication.”
Misdemeanor charges were filed against Hamblin, 42, on July 22 after an incident at his home. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery with no priors.
In ensuing weeks, six Overland Park city councilmembers urged him to resign his Ward 6 seat, but he declined. Mayor Carl Gerlach also removed Hamblin from his post on the city council’s Public Safety Committee.
Shannon told the Post she is unsure whether charges would be refiled.
This story will be updated if the Post gets any further information.