Trial delayed in sexual assault on child case
A trial was delayed on Tuesday until after Thanksgiving for a former Minden man, who is facing a life sentence on a charge of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old.
Juan G. Ramirez-Vargas, 46, is denying charges of sexual assault and lewdness with a child under the age of 14.
If convicted, he faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
Defense attorney Matthew Ence and prosecutor Ric Casper stipulated to the need to delay the trial, which was scheduled for May 1.
Ramirez-Vargas has been in custody since he was arrested in Oregon where he was living in Clackamas County on March 24, 2017, on a warrant issued out of the East Fork Justice Court. He will have been in Douglas custody for a year on April 28.
Judge Tod Young ordered the eight-day trial to start on Nov. 26 and run through Dec. 7.
Attorney’s motions are due by Aug. 30, and Young warned both sides that any motions sought after that would require leave of the court.
Ramirez-Vargas is in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail. He appeared in court with an interpreter on Tuesday.
After the hearing, attorney Matthew Ence confirmed he had no concerns about the level of interpretation.
According to a transcript of an April 3 hearing, Young said that in a motion for additional counsel, Ence indicated a concern with the interpretor.
“You allege that the interpreter you’ve been using is somehow misinterpreting or at least there’s an issue with that,” the judge said.
Ence replied that he didn’t believe the interpretation was faulty.
“But I believe … that there was some miscommunication in one particular question that Mr. Ramirez-Vargas had of me.”
He said attorney Maria Pence, who went to see Ramirez-Vargas, questioned the interpretation of a legal word.
“According to Ms. Pence, I was providing the correct response, but it was somehow being misinterpreted and he was misunderstanding. Not because necessarily the words were wrong, but just the manner in which they were received by him.”
Ramirez-Vargas was the first person indicted by the Douglas County Grand Jury last year.
He is being held on charges of sexual assault of a child and lewdness with a child under 14 years of age.
The information contend the abuse occurred March 17-21, 2016, in Ironwood.