Klarissa Shayla Guerrero came to court for an arraignment hearing last Monday, Nov. 2.
Klarissa Shayla Guerrero came to court for an arraignment hearing last Monday, Nov. 2.
To allow time for drug testing, defendants in Pershing County’s 11th Judicial Court arrive 30 minutes early for their hearings. 

As a condition of their release from jail, they’ve agreed to abstain from alcohol, marijuana and other substances, including one that lands hundreds before Judge Jim Shirley every year, methamphetamine. 

On most court days at least a couple of defendants test positive. 

Recently, one tested positive for methamphetamine and alcohol, another for alcohol and marijuana. The court decides the consequences on a case-by-case basis. 

Its goal is to ensure people are sober enough to participate in hearings that could alter the course of their lives.

In the first case, the court postponed the arraignment. They also ordered the defendant to pay for drug testing three times a week at $12 per test until the next hearing. 

“If a test comes back dirty, adulterated or if you don’t show up, you’re going into custody,” Judge Shirley told the defendant. Other options included jailing them until the next hearing or for a few days before the hearing. 

Methamphetamine stays in the system for 48 to 72 hours. Marijuana is detectable in body fluids for up to 30 days.

In the second case, the court determined the defendant was not impaired. The defendant acknowledged that they violated probation by drinking a couple of beers. They claimed that marijuana remained in their system from the day of their arrest. The court proceeded with the hearing per the wishes of the defendant and their attorney.

“However, you can’t come back later and say, ‘the judge should not have accepted my plea because I was high,’” the judge told them.

Drug testing irks some defendants and attorneys. Alcohol and marijuana are legal to adult Nevadans. In non-drug-related cases, the tests may be unrelated to the charges against the defendant.

An amended administrative order dated May 11, 2020, says tests will not be used for criminal charging purposes. However, positive tests may result in a violation of Own Recognizance Release and revocation of the release.

Hearings from 

Monday, Nov. 2

On Sept. 23, police arrested Thomas John Bradley, 40, for possessing a firearm as an ex-felon. It was a black Ruger SR40 pistol. The PCSO released Bradley on his own recognizance.

In exchange for Bradley’s guilty plea, the DA’s office dismissed one count and won’t file additional charges.

The defendant faces the possibility of one to six years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. He may be eligible for probation. He stands convicted of the charge and returns to court for sentencing on Jan. 4, 2021.

Timothy Bradley came to court from jail for a probation violation hearing. He admitted to the allegations in the report.

Attorney Kyle Swanson said he’s been trying to find a treatment facility tailored to Bradley’s needs. The judge remanded the defendant to the custody of the PCSO. He’ll be back in court for follow-up on Nov. 9.

On June 27, the PCSO booked Christopher Wayne Quintana for battery with substantial bodily harm. He has yet to enter a plea. His arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Klarissa Shayla Guerrero pleaded not guilty to unlawfully entering a vehicle to commit larceny, a Category E felony. The alleged crime occurred on Aug. 22, 2020. 

If the State proves the allegations, Guerrero faces the possibility of one to four years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. The judge also has the discretion to grant probation.

The court set a jury trial for Jan. 25, 26 and 27.

Delson Leon Williams came to court from jail for an arraignment. The court expedited the hearing due to Williams’ medical problems – a hernia on the verge of rupture. Nevada law stipulates that Williams receive mandatory probation for the drug-related offense.

A criminal history check showed misdemeanors, but nothing to interfere with Williams’ mandatory probation status.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a nicer young man with the substance and alcohol issues he has,” said Steve Cochran, the public defender. “In terms of cooperation and communication, he’s been an ideal client.”

Williams admitted to an addiction to alcohol and said he’d benefit from treatment. 

The judge placed him in the Pyramid Lake drug court program. He’ll serve up to 12 months of probation. He has 90 days to pay $238 in court fees.

The judge also found Williams eligible for a 458 diversion program. He may be able to withdraw his guilty plea if he completes treatment. “You’ll be released from jail today,” said the judge. “I expect you to do well.”