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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
February 21, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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February 21, 2001

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4A Wednesday, Feb. 21,2001 Court News By Dave Keller Staff Writer Thanks to unexpected ex- penses, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors was forced last week to transfer $21,000 in contingency funds to the public defender budget. The transfer of the money, which received the board's unanimous approval, roused the supervisors' frustration. "The bottom line is that we don't have any choice, do we?" Supervisor B.J. Pearson asked. The answer lies in the legal requirement that the county, must provide defense attor- neys for poor criminal defen- dants. The county contracts with four Quincy attorneys--Bill Abramson, Doug Prouty, Robert Zernich and George Zube--to provide defense work. They are each paid $50,400 a year, but judges can make spe- cial appointments beyond the scope of those contract~.jn the event of conflicts of interest or for first-degree murder cases. For example, $12,500 of the $21,000 that was approved last week by the board is allocated to the defense of first-degree murder suspect Rain Dancer Dickey O'Brien. When the supervisors ex- accounts will need to be revis- In addition, pressed frustration last week ited later in the fiscal year and sources close to and questioned whether there supPlemented with an addi- the supervisors are abuses, County Adminis- tional amount," Stretch told ing to replace trative Officer Jim reminded the supervisors, neys. the board that it has "very lit- The current public defenderAlthough the tle discretion, except to pay the contracts expire June 30. the responsibility claims." While it is not known how most court And, Stretch predicts that large an increase the attorneys ty is still obligated additional funds will need to may be seeking, they were public defense be transferred before the end granted a modest 4.9 percent of the fiscal year. increase in 1998. "It is very likely that these I m By Dave Keller old Robert J. Sage. Hedges testified that, when Staff Writer Allen examined Terry he tried to arrest him, Sage re- A ruling is expected April 20 Hedges, a fish and game inves- sisted. on whether a Butte County tigator, who testified that Sage Sage took what Hedges de- bear hunter should be held to possessed a gun during a Oct. scribed "as a rather threaten- answer on an allegation that 10 encounter between the two ing stance." he possessed a firearm after in the Granite Basin area of Hedges said he ended up being convicted of a felony. Plumas County. spraying Sage in the face with Prosecutor Lawrence Allen, Sage is barred from owning Pepper Spray prior, to taking acting on behalf of the Plumas and possessing firearms under him into custody. County District Attorney, pre- the terms of his 2000 felony Under cross-examination by sented evidence last week conspiracy conviction in Sage's attorney, Grady Davis, against the defendant, 70-year- Plumas County. Hedges admitted that he does not like Sage. Lake hunting expedition, Sage "I learned some things about was ordered to stop bear hunt- his past that bother me," ing for four years. Sage also Hedges said. was ffmed $13,700. Hedges has been involved He is appealing the terms of with previous legal woes in- his punishment, but the con- volving Sage. viction still bars him from pos- He was the investigating offi- sessing a firearm, even if the cer on the case that led to last punishment is lessened on ap- year's conspiracy allegations, peal. Under the terms of last According to court records, year's conviction, which Sage has killed nearly three stemmed from a 1997 Bucks dozen bears in recent years and has alle forbidden bait sions. Gall bladders fetch $500 from who like them illnesses. By Dave Keller Staff Writer Judge Alan H. Thieler up- a decision that required an Indian Valley man to an- swer to felony charges of elder abuse and burglary. In doing so, Thieler backed Superior Court Judge Ira R. Kaufman s October ruling that : Herman Spliethof may have duped an elderly woman into April25. dence to support what is tim in the case "was having giving him about $100,000. At issue was an October known as a "holding order" more and more difficulty" deal- Thieler reached the decision hearing, at which witnessesagainst Spliethof. ing with the tasks of everyday after hearing arguments and testified that Spliethof re- During last week's hearing,life at the time Spliethof was examining legal briefs from de- ceived money from an elderly Hilde tried to convince Thieler receiving money from her. fense attorney Janet Hilde and Greenville woman, under thethat Kaufman should not have "She was losing her ability to District Attorney James Reich- pretense that he needed it for held Spliethofto answer, cope" and Spliethof knew it le and considering other evi- work equipment or other es-But, Reichle told the judgeand took advantage of it, Re- ichle told Thieler. dence, sentials, that Kaufman's decision was Thieler's decision cleared At the conclusion of the correct. Hilde, however, said there the way for a six-day jury trial, hearing, Kaufman determinedReichle said the alleged vic- was no proof at the October which is scheduled to start that there was enough evi- hearing that backed Reichle's claims. There was no testimony that the alleged from "mental said. Thieler disa Hilde's argument, that Kaufman's "are supported." on Dave Keller Staff Writer A Greenville man who at- tacked a deputy who was try- ing to arrest him for public in- toxication, will serve 240 days in county jail. The punishment was or- dered by Judge Alan H. Thiel- er as part of a three-year pro- bation order for Jerome M. Merino. ) was ordered go alcoh0I abuse management counsel- :hag. :~:~ Merino pled guilty last ::!month to a pair of misde- : meanors--a count of disre- garding the orders of a peace officer and a count of trying to take a peace officer's firearm. Merino was arrested Dec. 22 after Plumas County Sheriffs Deputy Bill Elliott responded to a disturbance call. Shortly after Elliott arrived and tried to take Merino into custody, Merino fought the deputy for nearly 15 minutes. During the fight, Merino tried to grab Elliott's gun, and the snap that keeps the gun holstered was undone during the fight. Merino to end the con- frontation. Elliott sustained only minor injuries and booked the defen- dant on misdemeanors, which were charged as felonies when the case was filed by the Plumas County district attor- ney. FEATHE VER Published: Every Wednesday morning by Feather Publishing Co., Inc. Office Location and hours: 555 W. Main St., Quincy, CA 95971. Mailing address: P.O. Box B, Quincy, CA 95971. .Office is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. HOW to contact us: All departments: (530) 283-0800. FAX: (530) 283-3952. E-Mail Web Page Ownership and Heritage: The Bulletin was established Aug. 11, 1866, as the Plumas National (later changed to Plumas National Bulletin, May 16, 1892) subsequently changed to its present name May 7, 1931, which merged with the Plumas Independent (1892-1945) on June 7, 1945. Published weekly. It is part of the Feather Publishing family of newspapers serving Plumes and Lessen counties. Boadlines: Display Advertising: Thursday 4 p.m. Display Classified: Thursday, 3 p.m. Classified: Monday 10 a.m. News: Fridays, 3 p.m. Legais: Thursday 4 p.m. Breaking news: Anytimel To Subscribe: Call (530) 283-0800 or come to the Bulletin office, or use the handy coupon below, or send e-mail to plumaspub@aol:com Adjudication: The Feather River Bulletin is adjudicated a legal newspaper by Superior Court Decree No. 4644 (1953) and qualified for publication of matters required by law to be published in a newspaper. Postal Service: USPS No. 188-550. Periodicals postage paid at Quincy, CA. Postmaster: Send change of address orders to the Feather River Bulletin, P.O. Box B, Quincy, CA 95971. Michael C. Taborski Publisher Kevin Mallory Tom Fomey Assistant to the Publisher Production Manager Debra Coates Cobey Brown Managing Editor Print Shop Manager Diane Kleine Pat Whitcomb Circulation & Classified Manager Bookkeeper Sherri McConnell Eva Small Advertising Manager Composing Manager Subscription Order Form Feather River Bulletin P.O. Box B, Quincy, CA 95971 Please enter my subscription for -_____ years. Q Enclosed find my check for $. In County $20 per year ~ Out of State $36 per year [~ In California $30 per year Name Address .... City, State, Zip. Subscriptions can be transferred, but not refunded. I By Dave Keller Staff Writer A Quincy woman who de- prived her dogs and cats of food, water and shelter was or- dered last week to serve 200 hours of community service. The community service was ordered for Nancy Schmersey by Judge Alan H. Thieler, in- stead of jail time. Under an agreement that al- lowed Schmersey to plead no the judge had followed it. her less time. contest in January to one But, Thieler agreed to follow Thieler told count of misdemeanor animal the district attorney's deal have her 200 abandonment, the district at- with Schmersey, who was nity service torney agreed not to seek jail placed on probation for twoPlumas County time against the defendant, years, trol officials. The probation department While Deputy District Attor- Schmersey nee urged Thieler to give ney JeffCunan encouraged the plete the 200hours Schmersey 60 days in county judge to give the defendant 250 The judge alsO jail--a recommendation that hours of community service,woman on would have allowed the defen- defense attorney Bill Abram- years. dant to withdraw her plea if son convinced Thieler to give I I By Terri N~=er of a new contract, something we can work with Port01a Editor Having these two individu- and will present it to the rest of Although the city didn't als involved in the negotia- the councilin the near future,,, agree with everything stated tions should help alleviate any said Murphy. in the Plumas County Grand issues that may have arisen, The city informed the grand Jury report, the Portola City due to the fact that neither of jury that, since a deputy has Council has decided it is time them was involved with the been attending city staff meet- to mend fences and look for- formulation of the current con- ings, communications between ward to the future, tract, according to the re-the city and the sheriff have The council directed staff to sponse letter, improved. prepare a response to the "The city hopes that these "The city is, and will contin- grand jury as requested in the negotiations will be successful ue to, work on improving such letter from that body to the and result in a new contract communications," said Adam- council, for continued law enforcement son. In its response, the council services by the Plumas County Council member Bill agrees that there is a need to Sheriff's Department," saidKennedy said he is hoping this improve the contract between Mayor Bill Adamson. will be the start of a new rela- it and the county of Plumas for Murphy, along with Adam- tionship between the sheriff law enforcement services, son, recently attended the first and the city and that better re- Formal discussions have al-contract negotiation meeting lationships with other entities ready begun between City Ad- with the sheriff and both re- within the county will follow ministrator Jim Murphy and ported that it went well. as well. the sheriff regarding the terms "We think we might have Caltrans wishes local residents and adjacent to state that it is a ifornia Vehicle VC23112 to de snow on a state Snow removed ways, walks, is not to be highways. Activities of this not only in California Vehicle create traveling public, timely highway activities. EVERYONE can use One Stop Employment Centers. Whether you're looking for your first job, a new job, or a better job - we can help. Career guidan search assistance, job skills workshops, job referrals, and computer and Internet access are just a few of services we offer to help you on your road to success. If you're starting or growing a business, we can customized recruitment, information on labor laws, tax credits, grants and resources, business training and Put us to work for you - we're here when you need us - we're your life-long career & business parmer. For more information, contact your local One Stop Employment Center and ask about an OrientatioO! PLUMAS COUNTY Employment & Training Center 1905 E. Main St. Quincy, CA 95971 LASSEN COUNTY Lassen Career Network 2545 Main St. Susanville, CA 96130