Lake County District Court news for Feb. 11, 2010
Judge Deborah K. Christopher dealt with the following cases on Feb. 4:
Robert Lee Browning, 47, of Ronan, was committed to the Department of Corrections for five years with all suspended but 44 days for felony burglary.
According to court records, the charge stems from a Nov. 20, 2007 incident when a Tribal Police Officer was approached by Browning. He told the officer that he purchased a GPS tracking device for $20 and that at the time, he thought he was buying a cell phone. He indicated that he would not be able to identify the seller, but that he wanted help in getting his money back. He delivered the GPS to the officer.
The officer could smell alcohol coming from Browning and he admitted to the officer that he had been intoxicated the previous evening.
Later that same day, the Tribal Police received a report that the Tribal Forestry Department had been burglarized. Items missing included a GPS Unit, ski gloves, a back pack and wool bibs. The GPS Unit was identified as the one belonging to the Tribal Forestry Department. Browning was also identified in a security video.
Courtney Ann Cataneo, 29, of Bigfork, was committed to the DOC for five years with all suspended but two years and was fined $85 for felony theft and will be ordered to pay full restitution in an amount determined by the probation office. This sentencing is to run concurrent with the sentencing out of Idaho.
According to court records, the charges stem from a Sept. 24 incident when the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a woman claiming that her daughter, Cataneo, had stolen approximately 11 checks from her home in Lake County between Sept. 9 and Sept 13. She also noted that several items had gone missing from her home.
In an interview with Cataneo, conducted by a Lake County Detective, Cataneo admitted to writing 10 of the 11 checks identified by her mother.
She also admitted to taking several items from her parents’ home without permission and selling them at pawn shops. Items included a video camera, camera, necklace and a chain saw. She also admitted to stealing items from Target, Costco and Kmart.
The value of the checks cashed and the items stolen were more than $1,500.
Savana Lynae Nelson, 23, of Lolo, pleaded guilty to felony driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fourth offense. According to a plea agreement, Nelson will be sentenced to the DOC for placement in an appropriate correctional facility or program for 13 months. If Nelson successfully completes a residential alcohol treatment program, the remainder of the 13-month sentence will be served on probation. Also, Nelson will be sentenced to three years to the DOC or Montana State Prison with all of that time suspended, and will be fined $1,160.
Sentencing is set for Wednesday, March 11 at 9 a.m.
According to court records, the charge stems from a Jan. 17 incident near mile marker 22 on U.S. Highway 93 when a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper noticed an oncoming passenger vehicle weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed. The trooper cited a 96 mph radar reading. The trooper turned around and activated his lights when he caught up to the car, but when the vehicle did not stop he turned on his siren. The vehicle took approximately two miles to stop and during this time, weaved from the fog line to the center line and crossed the center line at least one time.
Once the vehicle stopped, the trooper approached the driver, identified as Nelson, and while speaking with her, he glanced at the man in the passenger front seat that indicated to the trooper that Nelson had been drinking by pointed to her and mouthed, “She is wasted.”
The trooper could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Nelson. She produced a breath sample that registered a .243% BAC. She was then placed under arrest and taken to jail for further processing.
During booking, Nelson told the trooper that she had not been driving and even after the trooper told her that the stop was recorded on video, she insisted that the male passenger had been the driver. Nelson refused all sobriety tests. Her driving history indicated that she has three prior DUI convictions.
Keil Orr, 27, of St. Ignatius, pleaded not guilty to felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - fourth or subsequent offense and to misdemeanor driving while license is suspended or revoked.
An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m.
According to court records, the charges stem from a Jan. 16 incident when a St. Ignatius Police Officer was dispatched to a home in St. Ignatius due to a report of suspicious activity.
A man stated that three children were playing outside when a pickup truck tried to entice the children toward his truck which was currently parked across the street. He also told the officer that a male, later identified as Orr, got out of the truck and appeared to have trouble walking after speaking with the children.
While running the registration, the officer saw a man standing in the bushes alongside a house. A Tribal Officer and a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy then arrived and while the officer was explaining the situation to the other officers, Orr approached the truck. He identified himself and said the truck was not his, but belonged to his cousin. While speaking, the officer could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath and his balance appeared to be impaired.
When asked about the children, he placed his hands behind his back as if waiting to be handcuffed. He agreed to a series of sobriety tests and his breath test resulted in .191% BAC.
Orr was then arrested and taken to the jail for further processing. He underwent three sobriety tests which indicated that he was under the influence and an Intoxilyzer test measured his BAC of .202%.
A history check of his driving record showed three prior convictions of DUI and that his driving privileges were suspended for failure to complete chemical dependency treatment after his most recent DUI conviction.
Dustin Jade Morgan, 26, of Pocatelo, Idaho, pleaded not guilty to felonies criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute, tampering with evidence, accountability - tampering with evidence, criminal endangerment, and accountability - criminal endangerment. Morgan remains in custody and an omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m.
Stephen D Leischner, 23, of American Falls, Idaho, pleaded not guilty to felonies criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute dangerous drugs, tampering with evidence, accountability - tampering with evidence, criminal endangerment, and accountability - criminal endangerment.
Leischner remains in custody and an omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m.
According to court records, the charges for Morgan and Leischner stem from a Jan. 19 incident at 1:30 p.m. when a Northwest Drug Taskforce Agent was contacted by a Parole officer about two males selling methamphetamine in the Lake County area. A confidential informant described one male as “Stevie” as being 5’7” tall, bald or shaved head, a goatee and tattooed writing down each forearm. This description matched that of Stephen Leischner. The informant told the agent that he had a large amount of meth, he had a handgun, along with cash and marijuana and that the males where going to be in Lake County for a few days to sell or trade the meth for pistols or shotguns that could be sawed of.
The informant placed a call to Stevie and his friend, Dustin Morgan, answered the phone and stated that they were in Boulder, but they would come to Lake County to sell some meth to the informant.
On Jan. 20, the agent was stationed in Arlee with a tribal police captain. The informant was to meet the two males in about 30 minutes. They observed the males in a green Cadillac. They followed in three cars behind it. Two other officers were stationed in Ravalli and waited and then as the Cadillac was northbound on U.S. Highway 93, they fell in behind it as one officer fell back.
All three law enforcement vehicles activated their emergency lights. The Cadillac then accelerated to high speeds towards Ravalli Hill. It proceeded northbound and took a right turn into St. Ignatius. At times, the Cadillac’s speed was more than 100 mph. It continued on Old Highway 93, before again reentering Highway 93, south towards Ravalli and turned around in Arlee and then headed north. Near mile marker 21, a deputy observed the passenger throwing things out of the vehicle window, which were later recovered.
The chase went west on Highway 200, then north on Highway 212 where officers were waiting with spike strips. The chase ended in Charlo, near Olsen road and Highway 212, where the two men exited the car and began running east and were stopped by law enforcement.
In the vehicle, the agent observed white material that appeared to be crystal methamphetamine on the front seat, floorboards, window seals and right side door panel, a glass pipe, and a leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana on the front passenger seat. A scale was also recovered in Ravalli.
After a warrant was issued, a search of the vehicle recovered a black computer bag and a red cooler, a large quantity of unused plastic bags hidden in socks, a glass pipe with meth residue, a black lock-box containing another black box with scattered pieces of meth shards inside, two computers, cell phones and a number of 9MM shells.
Joseph Eugene Depoe, 45, of Pablo, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - first offense. He was found guilty and sentenced to the Lake County Jail for six months with all suspended except 10 days, was fined $1,000 with all suspended except $400 and charged $125 in court costs.
According to court records, the charge stems from a Sept. 25 incident when Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a report of an occupied vehicle in the ditch off of North Valley Creek Rd.
When the deputy arrived, a black car was partway on the road and part way in the ditch, with headlights on, radio barring and the keys were in the ignition. He also noticed an open can of beer in the center console. Depoe was passed out in the drivers seat.
A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper arrived on scene and awoke Depoe. The trooper noticed that Depoe smelled of an alcohol beverage and he scored six of six possible clues on the HGN test.