Grand Jury returns no true bill, case against Winchester’s Hoots to be dismissed

By Blake Schnitker on July 12 at 10:36am

The case against a Winchester woman accused of misconduct and theft of city money will be dismissed after a grand jury found no probable cause for the alleged charges facing her.

According to the Jacksonville Journal Courier, Barbara Hoots, who currently serves as Winchester’s Deputy Clerk as well as city collector, is looking at having her case dismissed by the Scott County court after a grand jury returned a no-true bill following less than a half an hour of deliberation. Hoots was originally arrested on April 12 and accused of knowingly taking $1,557 from the city of Winchester between May 12 and December 28 while acting in her official work capacity.

However, in light of new evidence, Scott County State’s Attorney Michael Hill enlisted a grand jury to review the new information and determine whether or not there was probable cause for the case against Hoots to continue. After looking over the new evidence and deliberating for just under a half hour, the grand jury came back with a no true bill, or No Bill of Indictment, for both count one and count two, meaning that jurors did not believe there to be enough evidence to charge Hoots.

According to Hill, the new evidence presented to the grand jury apparently involved criminal allegations against some of the involved parties, however, they were not related to Hoots’ case directly, and those allegations are currently under investigation.

With the grand jury’s decision, State’s Attorney Hill then filed a motion to “Nolle Prosequi,” a law term meaning a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action. Given Hill’s motion, the case against Hoots will be dismissed, with the statute of limitations on the case running out in May of 2020, meaning that if any new information comes to light, the case has until that time to be revisited.