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Teen cleared of hit-and-run may not have any legal recourse

6:36 PM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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LONGMONT - Kendra Balentine always insisted she had nothing to do with the hit-and-run death of 16-year-old Jason Grimmer on New Years Eve. Yet for weeks she lived under a cloud of suspicion as Longmont Police investigators continued to try to build their case against her.

And then this week, Longmont Police announced in a press release that it was going to request that all charges against the 18-year-old needed to be dropped. The investigation, the release implied, was to begin anew.

It all begs the question. Does Kendra Balentine have any legal recourse now that her name has been attached to the case?
The short answer, according to 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson, is "not likely."

"Our legal system does not handle this situation well. The police officers are likely immune from suit if they can show they had probable cause to bring the case against her in the first place," said Robinson. "If they have probable cause, they can bring the case without realistic fear of lawsuits."

Longmont investigators originally said they tied Balentine to the case because of front-end damage to Balentine's car. When 9NEWS spoke to the teen last month, she told us she had hit a parked car the week before the hit and run.

Investigators also sent evidence to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation they hoped would definitively tie Balentine's car to the scene. This week, they announced the evidence cleared Balentine.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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