Published On: Thu, Jun 15th, 2017

Right-of-way case is in court once again

HARTINGTON — John Thelen was back in Cedar County Court last week concerning charges of allegedly placing an obstruction in the right-of-way along a county road approximately four miles north of Randolph.
Thelen appeared before Judge Douglas Luebe in County Court June 7, due to the Citation in Lieu of Arrest that was served on Thelen in September 2016.
Thelen faces criminal charges on three counts of obstructing a roadway, a Class V Misdemeanor.
According to the complaint, Thelen obstructed a public road by continuing to place a fence in the right-of-way.
Papers filed in County Court state the fence was removed by the Cedar County Road Dept. on three occasions:  Aug. 31, at a cost of $201; Sept. 6, for $100; and Sept. 13, for $100.
During the hearing, Judge Luebe agreed to a request made by Thelen’s attorney Bradley Easland, Norfolk, and Special Prosecutor Edward Matney, III.
Testimony will be submitted in writing to the court in place of having the witnesses testify. Attorneys will have 14 days to look at testimony and then submit a brief, according to Judge Luebe.
Notice will be given on any further hearings, Luebe said.
A continual struggle between Thelen and the Cedar County Road Dept. and Cedar County Commissioners dates back to 2013.
Numerous verbal warnings and legal notices stating a fence can not be in the county ditch R.O.W. have been issued to Thelen during the last four and one-half years. The fence has been pulled out of the ditch by county officials several times only to later find the fence had been placed back in the ditch R.O.W.
Complaints, orders, motions for continuance, affidavits, a temporary restraining order, along with numerous other legal papers have been filed in County and District Courts.
In 2015, a complaint had been filed against Thelen in County Court for obstructing the roadway. During the court proceedings, Judge Douglas Luebe issued a fine of $25 plus court costs and ordered Thelen to keep the fence out of the R.O.W., after hearing the case.
Papers have also been filed in District Court concerning placing an obstruction in the county road R.O.W.
District County Judge Paul Vaughn then issued a temporary restraining order to stop Thelen from encroaching on the public R.O.W.
Thelen and his attorney appeared in District Court. At that time, a decision was made to have affidavits presented in place of having the witnesses testify.
The case is still under advisement at this time.