The case of a California man charged with kidnapping a Nampa girl is headed for mediation.
Brian Sangjoon Lee, 20, of Granada Hills, California, was charged with first-degree kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl in August.
Lee traveled to Idaho from the Los Angeles area after making an agreement with the girl through an online gaming program, according to a news release from the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office. After searching the girl’s cellphone, the sheriff’s office determined she had been in contact with a California phone number. She was later located at a Nampa hotel, accompanied by Lee, according to law enforcement. The 20-year-old was detained for questioning, and later arrested.
At a hearing in Canyon County District Court on Wednesday, an attorney for Lee, Michael Jacques, requested the case be sent to mediation.
“We were not able to successfully reach a resolution,” Jacques told Third Judicial District Judge Thomas Whitney.
Lee and the state have already attempted to negotiate a plea, Whitney said. In a note on the state’s court records website, Wednesday’s hearing was marked as a “potential” change of plea hearing.
“I don’t have any objection to mediation,” said Shari Dodge, a Deputy Canyon County Prosecutor. But, she added, “I’m not sure that it’s going to be fruitful. I mean, I’ve given the offer that I’m going to give, so I’m willing to do mediation. But I’m not hopeful it will (come to) a resolution.”
Mediation is a voluntary legal process agreed to by both sides in which a neutral authority helps parties come to an agreement on some or all of a case’s issues. Mediators are senior or sitting judges, and do not preside over other aspects of the case, according to the Idaho Supreme Court’s website. Mediation proceedings are confidential.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Whitney ordered the case to mediation.
If the case does not reach a resolution beforehand, a jury trial for Lee is currently scheduled to begin March 14.
Lee is being held at the Canyon County Detention Center.