Judge William A. Maddox filled in for Judge Jim Shirley in the 11th Judicial Court last Monday. In the morning session Judge Maddox presided over two arraignments, a review hearing and a pretrial conference. 



Arraignments

Christopher Lee Smith, 44, came to court from jail. He’d been incarcerated since Dec. 6, when the PCSO booked him on a drug court hold. Smith’s drug of choice is methamphetamine. 

On Monday, Smith admitted to failure to register as a sex offender, a D felony punishable by one to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It was Smith’s first lapse in registration since his 2008 conviction in Linn County, Oregon. Hence, both sides of the bench agreed he qualifies for probation.

According to Nevada law, after Smith relocated to Pershing County he had 48 hours to register with law enforcement as a sex offender. He said he’d recently moved from out of state and forgot. 

By statute, it makes no difference whether the defendant forgets or intentionally fails to register. Two such failures within seven years result in mandatory prison time of up to five years. The sentencing judge cannot grant probation.

Steve Cochran argued for his client’s release from jail prior to the sentencing hearing, scheduled for Feb. 7.

The judge agreed but admonished the defendant.

“How you conduct yourself on release prior to sentencing is something judges take into consideration. If you can’t keep from using methamphetamine my inclination would be to incarcerate you. The judge does not have to follow the recommendations for probation.”

Smith promised to abstain. Pretrial Services will handle the testing that documents his failure or success.



Lisa Ann Story, 48, had also been in the jail for the past two weeks. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime, an offense that could land her in jail for up to a year. The plea is a legal fiction, defined by the Oxford dictionary as “an assertion accepted as true, though probably fictitious, to achieve a particular goal in a legal matter.” 

The plea enabled the State to offer the defendant probation rather than jail. The attorneys recommended supervision by the Division of Parole and Probation. Marni Pool from the Winnemucca office participated by phone in the day’s hearings.

“I chose my friends unwisely and I’ve learned a valuable lesson,” said Story. The judge accepted her guilty plea. 

Judge Maddox released the defendant from custody to await her Feb. 7 sentencing hearing.

Before the sheriff drove Story back to jail to gather her belongings, the judge asked her age. He also wanted to know how long she had been using methamphetamine. She said she began using at the age of 15.

“You maturation is probably around 15,” he replied. “Once you start using meth you don’t mature. Can we trust you not to use methamphetamine if I let you out?”

The defendant said she’d do whatever it took to avoid going back to jail.

“You’re going to prove to us one way or the other whether you can be trusted,” said the judge before ordering her release from custody.



Review hearing

Timothy Lee Bradley came to court from jail with over 300 days credit for time served on an E felony. Bradley is a ward of the State. A representative from the Guardian’s Office attended the review hearing.

“The practical reality is that he should be revoked but it’s not in the best interest of Mr. Bradley or society for him to be remanded to prison,” said DDA Todd Banks. He explained that Judge Shirley asked the attorneys to find a suitable placement for the defendant.

Steve Cochran agreed with the DDA’s assessment, adding the problem was of over a decade in duration.He described Bradley’s tendency to “surround himself with predators.” Banks added that Bradley is “too competent for lockdown but lacks the ability to live a fully independent life.”

Bradley had an angry outburst before returning to jail to await his next hearing. “Where is this going?” he asked. He accused people of not doing their jobs. Nonetheless, Cochran says Bradley appears content in the structured environment of the jail.

The defendant will return to court on Jan. 3 before Judge Shirley. Banks and Cochran continue searching for what Cochran called “a unicorn of a program.”



Pretrial conference

James Brian Anderson was not present for his pretrial conference. Attorney Rendal Miller said the defendant was in the hospital. A motion is also pending. The judge scheduled the motion hearing for Jan. 31.

Anderson denies allegations of battery causing substantial bodily harm, a C felony.