Former Lincoln County Sheriff Rene Rodriguez was scheduled to be sentenced today, April 24, on convictions for six felony counts of sexual abuse, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the defense and prosecution agreed to postpone the sentencing hearing to May 22.
The state’s lead prosecutor, Kristina Schindele, called for the status conference on April 17, given the circumstances around COVID-19 and isolation orders, according to court minutes from the hearing. Schindele told the court she was concerned about traveling to Blaine County from Ada County and also voiced concerns for people from Twin Falls who plan to attend the sentencing hearing.
Defense attorney Cheri Hicks agreed, adding that the defendant’s family would like to be present at the sentencing.
“Mostly due to safety and health concerns, it is not prudent to ask people to come to this infected county, which goes against the governor’s isolation order,” Hicks said.
The Idaho Supreme Court’s reduced hearings order, initially set to expire on April 22, has been extended by the court for the time being.
Rodriguez was indicted by a grand jury for the criminal charges in April 2019. Following a four-day trial in November, he was convicted of sexually abusing his adopted daughter when she was between 9 and 17. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison