Philip Levi Long appears for his arraignment.
Philip Levi Long appears for his arraignment.
Pershing County’s 11th Judicial Court met on Monday, April 20, with Judge Jim Shirley presiding. Steve Cochran, Steve Evenson and John Routsis defended clients. 

DDA Todd Banks represented the State of Nevada.

Vadim Marmer traveled from the Bay Area to face sentencing for bringing psilocybin mushrooms to Burning Man two summers ago. 

According to the police report, Marmer had 37.04 grams of mushrooms in his possession. However, Evenson said that chocolate encased the mushrooms, contributing to their weight.

Marmer is establishing an international travel agency which employs 22 people. He regularly travels overseas. Currently, he’s completing phase one of the out-of-state drug court program, coordinated by Myra Paredes.

“At the end of phase one, he’s going overseas to work on the travel agency,” said Evenson. “He asks the court to waive the three-times-a-week urinalysis drug testing requirement while he’s out of the country.”

Banks countered that Pershing County’s out-of-state drug court has included international businesspersons, art dealers and celebrities. “They engaged in the process and made it work,” he said.

Banks suggested the defendant submit hair samples before and after each overseas trip. The judge assigned Marmer to the out-of-state-drug-court program for up to 364 days under court supervision. He must get hair follicle testing once a month when out of the country. 

Marmer questioned the monthly requirement since hair drug tests detect drug use for up to 90 days.

“The judge made that decision because he’s the one wearing the black robe,” Evenson told his client. “The correct answer is, ‘Thank you, Your Honor.”

Giovanni-Gonzalez-Silvestre, 26, came to court from jail to plead guilty to domestic battery by strangulation, second domestic battery offense. “This is his second domestic battery, but not a second domestic by strangulation,” said Cochran.

Because of the previous domestic battery conviction, Gonzalez does not qualify for probation. The sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of 12 – 60 months. The DA’s Office capped the sentencing recommendation at 12-36 months in exchange for the guilty plea.

The defendant admitted that on Feb. 11, 2021, he strangled a woman with whom he has two children in common. “I had my hands around her neck,” he said.

Judge Shirley accepted the guilty plea. He’ll sentence the defendant on Jun. 21. 

Jake Owen Bokori, 22, pleaded no contest to possessing a controlled substance (methamphetamine) in Lovelock on Feb. 14, 2021. He qualifies for mandatory probation and returns to court for a sentencing and eligibility hearing on Jun. 21.

On March 6, 2021, the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office booked Nelson Wade Bonta, 47, for allegedly driving while license canceled, revoked or suspended, unlawful use of paraphernalia, expired registration and unlawful possession- not for sale.

His arraignment is scheduled for May 3.

Last month, the court postponed Philip Levi Long’s arraignment because he tested positive for controlled substances before the hearing. He returned to court on Monday defended by Routsis.

Long pleaded guilty to bringing MDMA to Burning Man in Sept. 2019, a Category E felony. 

“After he tested positive at his last hearing, I told him he had to be more proactive,” said Routsis. “I read him the riot act. I want to get my clients the best deal I can, but I also want to see them succeed.” Long contacted Myra Paredes and began the out-of-state-drug-court-program.

Routsis asked the judge to assign Long to the program as a condition of probation. However, according to the plea agreement, the defendant won’t apply for diversion, which would have allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea after finishing the four-phased program.

Banks agreed that Long qualified for mandatory probation despite some black marks on his record, mostly for cannabis possession, now decriminalized.

“I don’t want to be in this situation again,” said Long. “I’ve got the ball rolling and don’t want to stop.”

The judge gave Long a suspended sentence of 12 to 36 months in the Nevada Department of Corrections with 32 days credit for time served. He’ll complete the out-of-state drug court program as a condition of his court-supervised probation.

Routsis also represented two defendants who graduated from the out-of-state program. They were each allowed to withdraw their guilty pleas. 

“I realize the massive error of my ways,” said one of the defendants. “This past year has been an incredible experience for me- 54 weeks with no alcohol, and I have no intention of returning. I love sobriety, love the energy. This has been a second chance at life and an eye- opening journey.”