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Lake County District Court news for May 27, 2010

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Judge Deborah Kim Christopher dealt with the following cases on May 20, 2010:

Marilyn Rose Adams, 55, Polson, had a previously suspended sentence for felony DUI revoked and was sentenced to the State Department of Corrections for five years with four years suspended. This is to run concurrently with a recent sentence she received for the same offense. 

Dustin Morgan, 24, Pocatello, Idaho, was sentenced to 15 years at the State Department of Corrections with 10 suspended for felony criminal possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and 15 years at the State Department of Corrections with 10 suspended for felony tampering with evidence. Both sentences are to run concurrently. 

According to court records, the charges 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 4-5 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, Mont. 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 mm 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. 

Becci Lynn Snowden, 39, Missoula, received a deferred imposition of sentence for three years for felony assault on a police officer. In addition, Snowden must serve 20 days in Lake County Jail within the next six months. 

According to court records, the charges stem from a Nov. 22 incident when a St. Ignatius Police Officer observed a vehicle going northbound on U.S. Highway 93 near Mountain View Drive and then pulled to a stop near the officer’s vehicle. The officer thought that the driver had seen him parked there and wished to speak with him.

The officer then pulled behind the vehicle, and was on a motorist assist. Once pulled over, the driver of the vehicle, identified as Snowden, got out and advised the officer that her window did not roll down. She told the officer that she was lost and was trying to go to Missoula, even though she was northbound on Hwy. 93. The officer then requested Snowden to move her vehicle out of the roadway. She complied on the second request.

The officer observed that he smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage from her breath and her eyes were bloodshot and glossy. She admitted to drinking earlier that day and agreed to a breath sample.

While she was waiting in the back of the patrol car, in between the 20-minute deprivation period to ensure she did not ingest anything, she asked the officer if she could go home as she had two 16-year-olds at home. The officer declined. The officer explained that if she blew under the legal limit, she would still not be allowed to drive home as he believed her to be impaired.

She then became argumentative, and did not properly blow into the mouthpiece to provide a breath sample. After several attempts, a reading was produced at .08%. She then became belligerent and more aggressive and used profane language towards the officer.

She resisted arrest and at one point, kicked the officer and during booking at the lake county jail, she continued to refuse directions and abused the detention officers verbally.

Eli Alexander Adams, 34, St. Ignatius, pleaded not guilty to felonies assault with a weapon and partner or family member assault and an omnibus hearing was set. 

According to court records, the charges stem from Adams’ connection with a Feb. 20 incident. 

When police responded to a residence on a call on reports of a domestic disturbance. When they arrived, they found a hysterical woman with six small children. 

The woman told police that after arguing with Adams, he started packing his things, including a television. While the woman was unplugging the TV, Adams grabbed the cord and began swinging it at her and cursing. When the woman threatened to call her brother, Adams drew a knife and waived it in front of the children. 

When Adams took his TV to his van, the woman locked the door and braced herself against it. Adams then allegedly tried to kick in the door and was eventually able to open it with the knife. 

Once inside, Adams repeatedly slammed the woman into the wall behind the door, held the knife to her face and cursed at her. 

Dixon D. Curley, 57, Pablo, pleaded not guilty to a DUI charge and an omnibus hearing was set for June 17 at 9 a.m. 

According to court records, the charges stem from an April 15 incident when Curley when he was pulled over as a suspicious vehicle. 

The officer followed Curley’s car with his lights and siren on until Curley left the road, high-centered his vehicle and continued on foot. The officer eventually caught and Curley and ordered him to get on the ground. During a search, the officer found a marijuana pipe. 

The officer noted that Curley smelled of an intoxicating substance, had bloodshot and glassy eyes and slurred speech. 

During booking, Curley refused to respond to any questioning and denied giving a breath sample. Records show that he has three prior DUI convictions. 

Vicente Windel Laroche, 31, Polson, appeared in court for an omnibus hearing regarding three counts of felony assault with a weapon and felony criminal endangerment. The hearing was conducted and a Jury trial was set for Aug. 30 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from an incident on March 4 when the Polson Police Department responded to several reports of gunshots at an apartment complex in Polson. A Sherriff’s Deputy was one of the first on scene, noting that five or six people ran towards him yelling that someone was shooting at them. The deputy then detained Laroche. Laroche told the officer where to find an AR-15 type rifle that he admitted to shooting only once into the air. 

Witnesses said that Laroche fired the gun into the air from the balcony and then fired several shots into the parking lot during an argument. During a search, officers found on spent shell casing on the ground beneath the balcony, a divot in the pavement consistent with a bullet strike, nine more spent shell casing inside the apartment, a spare magazine for the rifle and a ballistic vest. 

Later, Laroche admitted to firing four roundsinto the air and also shooting into the parking lot. 

A breath test indicated that Laroche’s BAC concentration was .145% at the time of the incident. 

Allen Michael McDonald, 48, Ronan, admitted to felony DUI and was found guilty. Sentencing is set for June 24 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from an incident on March 28 when Lake County Dispatch received a report of a possible drunk driver on Round Butte Road near Ronan. The reporting party observed a pickup weaving back and forth between the fog line and center line, almost going into the ditch several times. 

Tribal Police Officer observed the pickup turning off Hughes onto Songer Road. 

The officer pulled up behind the vehicle and McDonald motioned for him to go around. The officer then approached McDonald and while speaking with him, he noted that his speech was thick-tongued and slurred, and there was a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. 

McDonald declined any field sobriety tests, because of his arthritis, but agreed to give a breath test. Based on the McDonald’s driving history, he had more than three prior DUI convictions, so the officer requested that a Highway Patrol Trooper take over the investigation. 

When the trooper arrived, he noted McDonald had slurred speech and unsteady movements. The HGN test resulted in six out of six clues of impairment. McDonald again refused any field sobriety testing.

During the 20-minute deprivation period, he became agitated and refused the breath test. He was then taken to the Lake County Jail for further processing. During transport, McDonald accused the trooper of being racist and threatened his family. 

Michael James Brumitt, 41, Billings, was sentenced to three years at the State Department of Corrections for felony bail jumping and 13 years at the State Department of Corrections with 11 suspended for felony burglary and 10 years at the State Department of Corrections with all suspended for felony theft. All sentences are to run concurrently. 

According to court records, the charges stem from a January 31, 2003 incident when Brummit was identified as the person who removed items from a home without the owners consent. The total value of the items taken from the home exceeded $1,000. 

Mackenzie Riebe, 22, Polson, was found guilty of felony criminal endangerment, and misdemeanor driving while privilege to do so is suspended or revoked and fleeing from or eluding a peace officer. He was sentenced to 10 years at the State Department of Corrections with five suspended for the felony. For the first misdemeanor he was sentenced to Lake County Jail for six months with all but two days suspended and for the other he was sentenced to Lake County Jail for one year with all suspended. 

According to court records, the charges stem form a March 14 incident in which Montana Highway Patrol tried to pull over Riebe on his motorcycle because he was following cars too closesly and passing in no-pass zones. When the trooper turned on his lights and sirens, Riebe sped up to 90 m.p.h. 

During the pursuit, officers observed Riebe make dangerous passes around other vehicles on the road. 

Riebe eventually lost control of his motorcycle, turned it on its side and was apprehended by officers. 

On May 20, Riebe also had a previously suspended sentence for felony bail jumping revoked and was sentenced to five years at the State Department of Correctionswith all suspended. 

The bail jumping charge resulted when Riebe did not report for a Feb. 5 omnibus hearing related to charges of burglary and theft. The burglary and theft charges stemmed from a July 31, 2007 incident in which Mackenzie broke into his mother’s residence and stole two computers and a Playstation II console with games and controllers.


Judge C.B McNeil dealt with the following cases on May 19, 2010:

Louie Pierre, 27, Polson, was committed to five years at the State Department of Corrections with all but 30 days at Lake County Jail to be suspended for felony criminal endangerment. 

According to court records, the charge stems from an Oct. 3 incident when Polson Police Officers were dispatched to the South Shore Lounge in Polson to investigate a reckless driving report.

The officer saw a red SUV drive out of the parking lot across a grass verge and onto Anchor Way. The officer blocked the vehicle and ordered the driver, Pierre to stop. Pierre the continued forward until the SUV almost hit the door of the police car.

Pierre then got out of the SUV and put his hands in the air. He was handcuffed and placed in the patrol car.

According to interviews by the officer with witnesses, Pierre’s girlfriend had gotten into an altercation with a male who had left the bar and was standing in the parking lot. Pierre, who was in the SUV, accelerated toward the male, missing him, but struck another male, went into reverse and hit a parked car. He then exited the parking lot and was spotted by the officer.
During processing at the Lake County Jail, test results indicated that Pierre was under the influence of alcohol. A blood sample was taken and submitted to the crime lab for testing.
Alan L. Howlett, 31, Ronan, received a deferred imposition of sentence for three years for felony criminal endangerment and six months at Lake County Jail with all by one day suspended for misdemeanor DUI. 
According to court records, the charges stem from an Oct. 27, 2009 incident when a possible DUI suspicion was called in by a woman who spoke with a man in Harvest Foods in Ronan who smelled greatly of alcohol, and was observed getting into a gray Isuzu Rodeo. The caller stated that his driving was all over the road and that he had a small child with him.
During this time, a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy was driving north on U.S. Hwy. 93 near Ronan when he observed a gray Isuzu driving at a high rate of speed in Harvest Foods parking lot.
The deputy observed the vehicle drive partially on the shoulder of the road and that the dome light was on. The vehicle pulled over to the shoulder of the road and parked before the deputy activated his lights.
The deputy then pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his lights. When the deputy asked Howlett if he knew why he had pulled him over, Howlett said he thought it was because this dome light was on and he was reaching for things in the car to give his child something to eat.
As he spoke, the deputy noticed that his breath smelled of an alcoholic beverage, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy and his words appeared to be slightly slurred.
Howlett said he had not been drinking. On the HGN test, Howlett scored six out of six possible clues of impairment. Howlett then admitted to drinking wine earlier.
On the walk and turn test, Howlett scored three out of eight possible clues of impairment. Howlett refused a breath test and was taken to jail for further processing. He received the same scores as the previous test and still refused a breath sample.
He also said he was taking Tramadol, a non-narcotic drug that can act as a central nervous system depressant when combined with alcohol.
Charles Charlo, 47, Ronan pleaded not guilty to felony DUI - fourth or subsequent offense and an omnibus hearing was set for July 7 at 9 a.m.
According to court records, the charges stem from an April 9 incident when Charlo was pulled over for a number of driving violations observed by a Tribal officer in Pablo. 
While speaking with Charlo, the officer noted a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Charlo. 
Charlo later refused sobriety tests and a breath test showed a BAC of .08% over the limit.

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