Sgt. Lindsey Michels gets examined on the stand during Tuesday’s motion hearing.
Sgt. Lindsey Michels gets examined on the stand during Tuesday’s motion hearing.

   A motion to suppress key evidence in the case of a former Ripon teacher accused of sexual assault of a high school student has been denied.

   Samantha J. Fitzpatrick, 29, Belington, W.V., and her attorney, Jonathan Smith, filed a motion in March in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court asking the judge to disallow evidence gained from the cell phones of Fitzpatrick and her alleged victim — referred to by the court as “Victim A.”

   Fitzpatrick was charged in December with child enticement, sexual assault of a student by school staff, exposing a child to harmful materials and obstructing an officer. Much of the state’s evidence for those charges rests on what was recovered from the cell phones.

   Judge Gary Sharpe denied the motion after a more than two-hour hearing Tuesday that included arguments from Smith and District Attorney Eric Toney, as well as testimony from Ripon Police Sgt. Lindsey Michels.

   The defense maintained that the affidavit in support of the warrants that granted law enforcement access to the phones omitted information with a “reckless disregard for the truth,” a standard set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Franks v. Delaware.

   That decision allows defense counsel to request a “Franks hearing” on such an affidavit if the defense believes information within it is false and was falsified either intentionally or recklessly.

Read the full story, including arguments from both sides, as well as the ruling on the case in the May 31, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.