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Nicholas Hanning, the former Idaho Springs police officer charged with assault, is expected to enter a guilty plea on Dec. 9.
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On Dec. 2, the Clark family and friends launched a Change.org petition asking County Judge Cynthia Jones not to accept a plea deal and to call for an outside review of all potential charges. As of noon Dec. 3, it had received almost 200 signatures.
Hanning appeared in court via WebEx on Nov. 30, when County Judge Cynthia Jones decided to continue his disposition hearing to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 to allow all parties to appear in-person and to allow more time for the hearing.
Hanning has been charged with third-degree assault of an at-risk person for deploying a stun gun against Michael Clark, 75, on May 30. Clark, who was unarmed in his home when he was stunned, has since suffered serious medical problems.
Clark's lawyer, Timothy Bussey stated on Nov. 30 that his client and family intend to speak against the plea agreement the prosecution has reached with Hanning's attorney. Jones explained that was one reason to continue the hearing: to allow more time for the Clark family to speak. Jones remarked how her Nov. 30 afternoon docket was too full to accommodate a longer hearing, but Dec. 9 would.
She also clarified that Hanning's sentencing will be a separate date after the Dec. 9 hearing.
The court has also given permission for Hanning to travel out-of-state for the holidays in late December. He was previously allowed to travel out-of-state for Thanksgiving.
Bussey expressed his clients' opposition, describing how Clark is unable to travel because of his poor medical condition after being stunned.
"When Mr. Hanning is allowed to travel during the holidays, it does strike a nerve with them," Bussey said of Clark and his family members.
Jones said she understood the Clarks' opposition, but felt it would be unfair to prevent Hanning from traveling when he's already done so without incident.
"I don't feel like I can prohibit travel for Mr. Hanning and permit it for other individuals before the court," Jones continued.
Along with the May 30 assault case, Hanning has also been named in a lawsuit by Brady Mistic, a deaf man who claims Hanning and another ISPD officer used "unnecessary force" when they deployed a stun-gun and arrested him in Sept. 2019.
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