Garden County Sheriff Michelle Quinn has been found guilty of misdemeanor domestic assault in a bench trial in Keith County. The 44-year old will be sentenced on September 13th.
Quinn had waived a jury trial and Keith County Judge Edward Steenburg heard testimony last week, then took the case under advisement before filing the guilty verdict on Thursday.
Quinn was stopped in April near the Keith County line by Garden County deputies who quickly turned the case over to the Nebraska State Patrol after discovering it was their boss they stopped, but no details were released until the trial.
As Judge Steenburg recounted it in his decision, Quinn inadvertently called her office on her cell phone with office staff hearing yelling, leading a deputy to record part of the call.
A worried dispatcher made a return call and could hear more arguing and yelling when it was answered. Recordings of both calls showed a heated argument with the victim yelling “I want out of the truck,” “you hit me,” and “you broke my teeth.”
The state trooper who took over the case from the deputies testified the victim had a cut lip and abrasions on the neck and cheek while Sheriff Quinn had a cut on the knuckle of her right index finger.
Quinn said she may have shoved the victim while leaning over the center console and her elbow may have contacted the victim’s face, but the trooper testified he saw no evidence about the elbow or any marks on Quinn except for the cut.
Quinn said she cut her finger on the console, but the deputy found no hard objects or any blood. He also said Quinn told him the mark on the victim’s face was from her – Quinn’s – ring.
Also testifying was a man who is now a Garden County Sheriff’s deputy. He said the victim told him Quinn had punched them in the face, causing the fat lip.