Archive | November, 2013

Inmate Alleges Torture At Ely State Prison

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

Still taken from March 2011 video of inmate Newcastle after he attacked a guard. Now the inmate is claiming he was “tortured”.

Still taken from March 2011 video of inmate Newcastle after he attacked a guard. Now the inmate is claiming he was “tortured”.

Mike Newcastle an inmate at the Ely State Prison is finding no takers in his effort to sue the institution for allegedly torturing him after he assaulted and wounded a guard.

According to confidential sources despite video of part of the alleged assault as well as testimony from a former ESP civilian manager no attorney Newcastle has contacted has agreed to take the case.

elvesmtwheelerThe video of the “torture” was shown during Newcastle’s trial last month where he was found guilty of assaulting a guard with a deadly weapon. Part of Newcastle’s defense was to alleged that he had been mishandled by the prison correctional staff after the assault occurred.

The videos as well as the rest of the trial are now being webcast on www.coyote-tv, the High Desert Advocate website.

A list of the “torture” incidents on the 19 clips are as follows:

rpalcethankPart 5

At about 17:00 direct examination:  Mike Newcastle  shown screaming, three guards ‘on his cuffs’, jacked up by the 3rd guard and begging to stop.  Being transported to building 9.

Face is shoved into brick wall when Roundy is brought by and their paths cross.  Whenever the 3rd guard lets go of Mike’s cuffs, he is silent.  Trial date is 10/15/13.  Mike Newcastle completely silent as he collapses in silence visitation room with video camera on him.  Lt Drummond is witness being questioned.  Tape goes to about 24:00.

Then Newcastle is searched.

centrathanksPart 6

During testimony  the state implies that Newcastle has faked the screaming and moaning, and that the ‘torture’ was all made up.  Lt. Drummond was the guy videotaping all of the drama with Roundy and Mike, who at the time was being accused as the attacker.

11:55  Mike screaming.

49:37  future witness Bill Palcweski is identified in the scene.

51:00  Mike Newcastle being walked out of unit, headed to building 9 (visiting).

52:44  Witness explains Mike Newcastle’s face shoved into rough concrete. Newcastle being grabbed by hair.

55:00  Guard in back let’s go of cuffs and Mike Newcastle is silent.

amulancethanksPart 8

7:00 Wratcheting of the cuffs

Part 19

33:00  Bill Palczewski testimony begins.  Palczewski provides testimony that officers were kicking him in the ribs to shut him up, digging their boots into his back to cause pain, and wratching up his cuffs, etc.  Palczewski testified not to formally report the incident and that he retired from the prison shortly later.

mediathanksWhile disconcerting that line of defense was unsuccessful in winning the acquittal of Newcastle perhaps for one very good reason. Even the most sympathetic juror would have to admit that even if he or she found the treatment of Newcastle repugnant, that manhandling happened after the inmate attacked the guard.

In addition Newcastle’s jurors may not have been all that sympathetic. In motions filed last week, Newcastle attorneys cite interviews with jurors that if true suggest Newcastle was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon simply because he was an inmate at ESP and “had to have been there for a reason”.

“Juror Josie Jensen (“Ms. Jensen”) told defense council that a couple of jurors voiced a belief that Mr. Newcastle was guilty of attempted murder. In addition, Ms. Jensen indicated that there were jurors who voiced that the evidence was insufficient to show that Mr. Newcastle attempted to murder the victim. Finally, Ms. Jensen indicated that during deliberations at one or two of the jurors voiced doubt about Mr. Newcastle’s guilt and that after deliberations, the jury compromised on a verdict of guilty to the alternate charge.

Juror James Nelson (“Mr. Nelson”) told defense counsel that during deliberations he declared that Mr. Newcastle was in prison for a reason; clearly suggesting that Mr. Newcastle was guilty simply because he was incarcerated.” Reads part of the motion.

wrecthanksEly State Prison is the Maximum Security prison for the state of Nevada and houses what are called the worst of the worst of the Nevada prison population. Not only have most of ESP’s inmates committed some of the most violent crimes in society they have also proven intractable inside the prison system.

Nicknamed the ‘graveyard’ conditions in Ely have been likened to psychological torture. Most inmates are kept in a state of permanent lock down for 23 hours a day with their only human contact a cell mate.

Newcastle himself pled guilty to the 2007 first degree murder of his wife, Shelby Hagedorn Joanette. He was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

His conviction of battery with a deadly weapon would almost certainly take his parole off the table at least for another decade or longer.

click link for Newcastle’s complaint:

newcastlesuit

hdathanks

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Past And Present Thrive In Wendover

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

The Victory Highway Arch is just one of many monuments in Wendover that celebrate the city’s history without encroaching on current development.

The Victory Highway Arch is just one of many monuments in Wendover that celebrate the city’s history without encroaching on current development.

While a wagon train group holds firm in its opposition to a potash plant proposed on a section of the Oregon trail the example shown in nearby Wendover could be a compromise that will allow the past to be preserved while letting the present be developed.

Earlier this month the Bureau of Land Management rejected a prospecting permit application for a Canadian company that wants to build an $85 million potash extraction plant near Pilot Mountain 15 miles north of Wendover.

click links for letters:

OCTA 1-13-13 from FW

OCTA reply Jan 30, 2013

Opposition to the project which would have created at least 40 very long term high paying jobs was spearheaded by the Oregon-California Trails Association which began a letter campaign against the proposed mine because of its proximity to the Hastings Cutoff, the “shortcut” taken by the infamous Donner Party as well as four other wagon trains in the mid 1800’s.

wrecthanksThe Oregon-California Trails Association is the nation’s largest and most influential organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of overland emigrant trails and the emigrant experience.

However as numerous examples located not 20 miles away in Wendover prove the past and the present can peacefully co-exist to mutual benefit.

Tourists at Juke Box Cave

Tourists at Juke Box Cave

Just in front of West Wendover City Hall is the monument to the Victory Highway one of the first transcontinental roads. A mile east just over the Utah border is the monument to the first transcontinental telephone lines and of course is the preservation of the Wendover Airfield that was not only the Army Air Corps testing ground for the atomic bombing of japan but also is a fully functional regional commercial airport.

In addition to more recent history ancient history of Neolithic native Americans are preserved at Juke Box Cave while the artifacts discovered in nearby Danger Cave are preserved at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

“We really have no problem in creating a buffer zone between our proposed mine and the trail,” said Foster Wilson President and CEO of Mesa Mining. “I think a visitors center or some kind monument would be a great idea.”

However according to a letter from the OCTA indicates that the only compromise the group would entertain is for the mine to go elsewhere.

“We are kind of limited to where there are phosphates,” Wilson said. “I am all for preserving history, and I think this country has done a pretty good job. The main trail is marked over 2,000 miles across six states. Locally there is an Oregon Trail Interactive Center in Elko. But the Hastings cutoff was used by just four trains and is only note worthy because of the Donner Party.”

potashadThe Donner Party’s claim to infamy came several weeks after they took the Hasting Cutoff when against advice from experts attempted to cross California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains in late fall, got stuck in an early snow storm and resorted to cannibalism to survive the winter.

centrathanks“There is a park named after the Donner Party, a lake and a monument to them.” Wilson said. “And it is not like our site attracts thousands of tourists every year. There is only one mark in the whole area and its shot up. There is literally nothing out here and the pioneers were overjoyed to leave it behind. Our project will bring 40 well paying long lasting jobs to the area.”

In their effort to kill the project the OCTA enlisted the aid of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. The opposition dovetailed nicely with recent efforts to set aside millions of acres of Utah lands as wilderness and therefore untouchable to any industry.

hdathanks

 

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WP Recallers Ask For $40,000 From Lampros

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

WhitPineCourt

Attorneys for the White Pine recall defendants are demanding that white Pine county commissioner John Lampros pay about $40,000 in fees and fines for his SLAPP suit against them according to motions filed this week.

This summer White Pine county residents James Adams, Cheryl Noriega and Tim McGowan filed a notice of recall against both Lemich and Lampros. Two weeks later Lampros and Lemich filed defamation suits claiming that the allegations in the recall petitions were in fact lies and that slander had damaged them financially and politically.

In response to the defamation suit the three asked the Judge to dismiss the suit on the grounds that they were so called SLAPP actions.

click link for motion

112613 COURT-p0001 – p0018

As defined by the Nevada Bar Association: A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP suit, is abusive litigation where a plaintiff brings a legally questionable claim in order to punish the defendant for exercising his or her First Amendment rights. Often, these suits are based upon defamation and other claims arising from expressive conduct. The purpose of a SLAPP suit is not necessarily to win, but to inflict the punishment of litigation itself.

In his ruling filed earlier this month Senior District Judge Charles Thompson threw out Lampros case altogether but kept parts of Lemich’s claims legally alive at least for the time being.

elvesmtwheelerRestricting themselves to the Lampros suit, attorneys Julie Cavanaugh-Bill and Jeff Dickerson asked for about $9,000 in attorneys’ fees as well as $10,000 to each of the clients.

But while Lampros may find himself poorer Lemich case is different.

In a separate ruling Thompson agreed with the defendants that three of Lemich’s claims to slander did indeed meet the definition of a SLAPP suit.

However the judge also rule that four did not.

It is important to note the Thompson did not rule on the veracity of Lemich’s claims that he was slandered, only that four of the allegations were not on the face obviously false or that the defendants made them in bad faith. That determination the judge pointed out may be for a jury to decide.

rpalcethankSpecifically Thompson separated his ruling to each allegation:

He found that the charge that Lemich was slandered “for a financial disaster in the White Pine County budget and that his “mismanagement was responsible for White Pine County’s financial difficulties” Thompson dismissed as SLAPP’s. Thompson also found that Lemich claims to slander over intimidation and threatening citizens as well as being ‘investigated’ for assault were also SLAPP’s.

However the judge ruled that the claim Lemich was under investigation for theft did not meet the SLAPP definition and that it would not be dismissed at least in regards to the SLAPP motion.

He also ruled that the allegations of slander regarding the Dismantling of the County Fire and EMS services was a SLAPP suit and thus dismissed. However the judge refused to dismiss the slander charges on the allegations that Lemich caused the county commission to commit violations of state statutes.

In addition Thompson refused to dismiss slander charges regarding the Lemich had a conflict of interest regarding the county land exchange with Midway Gold and that he had a vendetta against the Ely Airport. On of the three defendants in the suit James Adams is the manager of the airport.

With the mixed ruling the defendants can either appeal or they can seek dismissal on other grounds besides claiming SLAPP.

mediathanks

potashad

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CA Girl Killed In I-80 Holiday Travel Tragedy

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

Michaela Vines face book photo

Michaela Vines face book photo

An 18 year old California girl died tragically Tuesday in a nightmarish scenario on a lonely stretch of Nevada’s I-80.

Michalea Vines, age 18, from Antelope California was traveling east with her family when a fight began and escalated to the point the car pulled over and Vines and her mother left the vehicle shortly after midnight Tuesday morning

“We have all been there,” said NHP spokesman Jim Stewart. “You get into a fight while driving and either the passenger demands to get out of the car or the driver demands the passenger get out.”

elvesmtwheelerShrouded in the dense fog common to the Northern Nevada winter, Vines and her mother began walking the four miles to Lovelock.

Seeing lights behind them the young woman stepped into the travel lane to flag down a passing vehicle. Tragically the driver of the vehicle, a Ford F 150 Pickup did not see Vines until it was too late. Vines was struck and died. The driver of the truck Jose Contreras, age 48, from Winnemucca, immediately pulled over pulled over and rendered first aid to Vines.

According interviews with the survivors Vines may have been drinking.

nbtthanks

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High Desert Hanukkah

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

menorah

 

While Wendover’s casino lights shine like a beacon from across the Bonneville Salt Flats the most unexpected luminescence comes small eight bulbs lit just for on week in December.

“I was really amazed when I saw them.” said one traveler, “Who expects to see a menorah in a small town in Nevada?”

wrecthanksWhile any number of large cities across the West boast a Hanukkah Menorah finding one shining in a city with a population of less than 5,000 is not only rare it is unheard of, that is with the exception of West Wendover.

wendoverxmasfest    In a survey of 10 Nevada and Utah cities with comparable or greater populations none besides West Wendover could make a similar boast.

The menorah was added to the city’s holiday decorations in 1995 joining a secular Santa Claus and a Classic Christian Nativity Scene.

“The message we intend to give is that of our motto– Come Grow with Us.” said then Mayor Walt Sanders. “We want to be an all welcoming all inclusive community.”

While the city’s motto has since changed to Waiting with Open Arms– the menorah commemorating the successful Jewish revolt against the Syrian Greeks still stands. Lasting eight days the festival begins on November 27 and ends on December 5th.

The next time the holiday coincides with Thanksgiving will be in 79,000 years.

centrathanks

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The American Optimism of Thanksgiving

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

The holiday the best explains the American experience is Thanksgiving.

While it may have begun as a harvest festival like Oktoberfest it has taken on a whole new meaning stuck at the end of November.

Indeed it is because of its peculiar location on the calendar that makes it ever so wonderful.

Naming a feast day less than a month before winter with at least three hard months of snow ahead bespeaks a kind of optimism that no other country can copy let alone emulate.

But Americans do.

Indeed Thanksgiving is the first holiday immigrants adopt and the last American holiday ex-patriots forget in their new homes if they ever do.

We have been told of the feast being kept in every corner of the world from Beijing to Sydney to Nairobi to Helsinki.

All countries have their national day.

It is usually one of parades and fireworks, patriotic speeches, expositions of military might. All religions have major and minor holidays that include a variety of worship in churches, temples, mosques or synagogues with prayers and chanting, incense and sometimes self flagellation.

But Thanksgiving is quintessentially different.

The center piece of the holiday is the meal and the central part of the holiday is Home. Take away those two elements and there is no holiday, or at least it is not Thanksgiving.

Formalized by Lincoln in 1863 in the middle of the civil war Thanksgiving was quickly adopted in the South after Appomattox.

A little strange for people who refused to stand for the national anthem as late as the 1920’s to celebrate a damn Yankee holiday but somehow Thanksgiving is different.

It touches a chord that most people never knew existed but once struck bears repeating every year.

We have a very sophisticated Parisian brother-in-law who is in the habit of looking askance at everything not Parisian.

He asked out wife to explain the holiday.

‘We make a feast with Turkey,’ she said. ‘And then the family gives thanks for everything or anything.’

‘And you do this in November?’ He asked ‘When it is cold and probably snowing? You don’t go out. You don’t do things.’

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Most people just stay home or visit family or friends.’

He took it in thought about it and said ‘What a wonderful idea.’

 

The insistence of the Oregon trail group to save every wagon rut they possibly can is just plain weird.

Don’t get us wrong we love history.

We have even been accused of being archeology groupies.

But seriously one does not have to cordon off progress to preserve it the past.

Indeed if those immigrants cared as much about history as their be knighted descendents they never would have made the trek west and their grandfathers never would have crossed the ocean.

To fight so hard to completely preserve one event does not bespeak a reverence for history but rather a an obsession.

Our pioneer ancestors did not define themselves by their journeys but by what they accomplished after they reached their destination.

They tamed a continent and built a country.

That is what we should celebrate.

That is what we should preserve.

 

 

 

 

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Utah Telephone Assistance Program (UTAP) http://jobs.utah.gov/housing/seal/utap.html

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

UTAP provides a discount on home landline phone service for eligible Utah customers. UTAP does not administer lifeline for mobile phones. Contact the Public Service Commis- sion at 801-530-6716 for questions about LIfeline for mobile phones. You may be eligible for UTAP if:

You have home landline service through a participating phone company and you qualify either by income or by program. • To qualify by income, your gross household income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty level.

• To qualify by program, someone in your household must be receiving help from one of these programs: HEAT, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Na- tional Free School Lunch Program, SSI, Refugee Assistance or General Assistance.

To Apply for UTAP:

Call 1-800-948-7540 to have an application mailed to you or for a list of Utah telephone companies participating in UTAP, or go to the web site listed above. Complete the applica- tion and mail it to:

UTAP PO Box 147140 Salt Lake City, UT 84114 Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities by calling (801) 526-9240. Individuals with speech and/or hearing impairments may call Relay Utah by dialing 711. Spanish Relay Utah: 1-888-346-3162.

Published: in the High Desert ADVOCATE November 28th, and December 5h, 2013.

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Wagon Train Group Kills New Wendover Potash Works And 40 Jobs

Posted on 22 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

Romantic rendering of the pioneers.

Romantic rendering of the pioneers.

Should the wasteland they hurried through on the way to greener pastures be "protected" for all time?

Should the wasteland they hurried through on the way to greener pastures be “protected” for all time?

While a pioneer preservation group crows over its victory to kill a proposed potash works 30 miles north of Wendover, officials from the minig comapny are already preparing their appeal to the BLM.

Last week The Bureau of Land Management rejected a prospecting permit application for a Canadian company that wants to build an $85 million potash extraction plant near Pilot Mountain 15 miles north of Wendover.

Opposition to the project which would have created at least 40 very long term high paying jobs was spearheaded by the Oregon-California Trails Association which began a letter campaign against the proposed mine because of its proximity to the Hastings Cutoff, the “shortcut” taken by the infamous Donner Party as well as four other wagon trains in the mid 1800’s.

wrecsocialmediaadThe Oregon-California Trails Association is the nation’s largest and most influential organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of overland emigrant trails and the emigrant experience.

“Mesa claims to have Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, along with Congressman Rob Bishop, leaning on the Bureau of Land Management to authorize the project to “reduce dependence on foreign producers,” “provide economic development,” and jobs, jobs, jobs!” wrote OCTA Utah member Will Bagley, on the Association’s website this June. “Genesis tells the ancient tale of how Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. For thousands of years, this “mess of pottage” has represented something worthless that is foolishly traded for an immensely more valuable birthright.

For many of us, the playa at Pilot Peak is a national treasure, what the Park Service calls a place that is “fragile, sensitive, rare, irreplaceable, exemplary, unique, and vulnerable to adverse change.” The American past has an almost magical ability to disappear, but beneath the looming majesty of Pilot Peak, silent stretches of the Hastings Cutoff endure. The singular landscape of the Pilot Peak Playa should be a National Monument, not a strip mine.”

centranewThe president and CEO of Mesa Mining was more than a little taken aback by the vehement opposition to his modest project.

“I am all for preserving history,” said Foster Williams. “And I think this country has done a pretty good job. The main trail is marked over 2,000 miles across six states. Locally there is an Oregon Trail Interactive Center in Elko. But the Hastings cutoff was used by just four trains and is only note worthy because of the Donner Party.”

The Donner Party’s claim to infamy came several weeks after they took the Hasting Cutoff when against advice from experts attempted to cross California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains in late fall, got stuck in an early snow storm and resorted to canabalism to survive the winter.

“There is a park named after the Donner Party, a lake and a monument to them.” Wilson said. “And it is not like our site attracts thousands of tourists every year. there is only one mark in the whole area and its shot up. There is literally nothing out here and the pioneers were ecstacted to leave it behind.

adoptmeOur project will bring 40 well paying long lasting jobs to the area.”

In their effort to kill the project the OCTA enlisted the aid of the Siearra Club and other envioronmental groups. The opposition dovetailed nicely with recent efforts to set aside millions of acres of Utah lands as wilderness and therefore untouchable to any industry.

But while the OCTA found allies in the environmental movent one group they did not contact pontentially would be the most affected by the mine– the local Native Americans.

“This group the (OCTA) reminds me of all the others that want to dictate how to manage our ancestral land,” said Jason Walker of the Northen Shoshone. “For us the coming of the wagon trains was not something to celebrate but a disaster.”

And in the Shoshone Williams may have found an unexpected ally in his company’s appeal of the BLM decision.

“We would be more than willing to employ members of the tribe,” he said. “This is their land afterall and the tribe should benefit from its natural resources. Or it can remain a strecth of desert where nothing grows and is so dry and desolate that a wagon track laid 150 years ago is still there.”

potashad

 

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Jury of ESP Con Newcastle Guilty Of Misconduct?

Posted on 22 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

Mike Fixer Newcastle with attorneys Karin Kreizenbeck and Charles Odgers during last month's trial.

Mike Fixer Newcastle with attorneys Karin Kreizenbeck and Charles Odgers during last month’s trial.

In an almost unheard of action for White Pine County, Ely Prison inmate Mike Newcastle is demanding a new trial based on juror misconduct.

In motions filed this week, Newcastle attorneys cite interviews with jurors that if true suggest Newcastle was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon simply because he was an inmate at ESP and “had to have been there for a reason”.

click links for motions:

CR1208084-reply-p0001 – p0007

CR1208084-opp-p0001 – p0008

CR1208084-p0001 – p0017

Originally charge with attempted murder the White Pine County Jury chose to convict Newcastle on a lessor assault charge two weeks ago. Almost immediately after the trial Newcastle defense team began to interview jurors and according to their motion discovered that at least in the beginning of deliberations the jury was split.

wrecsocialmediaad“Juror Josie Jensen (“Ms. Jensen”) told defense council that a couple of jurors voiced a belief that Mr. Newcastle was guilty of attempted murder. In addition, Ms. Jensen indicated that there were jurors who voiced that the evidence was insufficient to show that Mr. Newcastle attempted to murder the victim. Finally, Ms. Jensen indicated that during deliberations at one or two of the jurors voiced doubt about Mr. Newcastle’s guilt and that after deliberations, the jury compromised on a verdict of guilty to the alternate charge.

Juror James Nelson (“Mr. Nelson”) told defense counsel that during deliberations he declared that Mr. Newcastle was in prison for a reason; clearly suggesting that Mr. Newcastle was guilty simply because he was incarcerated.” Reads part of the motion.

centranewIn addition to those statements the motion also claims that jurors discussed Ely State Prison and the type of inmates housed there.

According to the motion all of those topics could constitute juror misconduct and force a new trial.

Ely State Prison is the Maximum Security prison for the state of Nevada and houses what are called the worst of the worst of the Nevada prison population. Not only have most of ESP’s inmates committed some of the most violent crimes in society they have also proven intractable inside the prison system.

Nicknamed the ‘graveyard’ conditions in Ely have been likened to psychological torture. Most inmates are kept in a state of permanent lock down for 23 hours a day with their only human contact a cell mate.

Mike Fixer Newcastle

Mike Fixer Newcastle

Newcastle himself pled guilty to the 2007 first degree murder of his wife, Shelby Hagedorn Joanette. He was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

His conviction of battery with a deadly weapon would almost certainly take his parole off the table at least for another decade or longer.

In addition to alleging juror misconduct the motion for a new trial also claims that much of the damning testimony against Newcastle was contradictory and changed several times during the trial.

In response to the motion the prosecution that even if the statements made by the jurors actually happened they were not juror misconduct but rather jurors using their life experience to find a just verdict.

As for the conflicting testimony of the correctional officer the prosecution argues that the testimony was presented and heard by the jury and that it along with blood splatter, DNA and other forensic evidence that the jury rightly found implicated Newcastle in the crime he was convicted of.

Seeking anew trial due to jury misconduct is extremely rare especially in White Pine county according to the County clerks office. According to records no similar motion has been filed in over five years.

potashad

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Prison Taxing Ely Jury Pool?

Posted on 22 November 2013 by Howard Copelan

Unknown

 

While the allegations of juror misconduct may be the first in White Pine County in a very long time, they or similar jury challenges may not be the last especially in connection to trials involving inmates at the Ely State Prison.

Shortly after ESP opened in 1989 the state of Nevada also added another District Judge to the White Pine County the major reason being that then one current judge could not hope to handle the increased case load a maximum security prison would bring. The state also increased established an office for the state’s attorney general office and the state’s public defender’s office in Ely.

adoptmeBut while the legal system was greatly expanded especially to handle the demands of the prison no one could do anything to increase the sparse While Pine County population which forms the third crucial leg of the justice system the jury pool.

And after more than 20 years that pool may have begun to run dry.

According to the White Pine County Clerks office more than ten percent of the county’s jury pool has already been called to serve this year alone to serve on trials with cases from the prison making up three of the 12 jury trials.

By comparison Elko County which has over four time the population of White Pine has used just four percent of its jury pool this year for the 19 trials it held.

The fact that despite it has four times the population but only seven more trials than White Pine can perhaps explained in three letters: E.S.P.

Trials cost money at least for civilians and for many legal fees may make a plea bargain look a little better. However for the inmates of ESP those costs are born by the state. An inmate may look at a trail not only as a way not only not to increase his time behind bars but also as a way to break up the monotony of a life sentence and even to make the state pay a little bit more for taking away his freedom.

And as more inmates go to trial the number of qualified jurors for a case involving ESP grows smaller every year.

For the defense the pool becomes even more limited as the number of prospective jurors who have either worked at the prison themselves or who have a close relation employed at the prison grows every years. The same holds true for the prosecution as relatives of inmates also increases.

centranewShortly after the prison opened a scandal erupted when it was revealed that the wife of one inmate was impaneled to serve on a jury deciding the case of another inmate who was in the same cell block as her husband.

While that error was written off to an early glitch it is much more likely now to find a prospective juror in a pool with at least second hand knowledge of the prison if not of the crime to be tried.

While no one is predicting that it will soon be impossible to find 12 good men (and women) to fill a jury, it is likely that as time goes by it will become harder. And perhaps as the pickings grow smaller attorneys will have to become less picky when choosing prospective jurors.

That does not automatically mean that there will be an increase in mistrials but perhaps it does mean an increase in motions for them.

And of all the people who are inclined to appeal the inmates at ESP with free legal aid and their own law library may be the most inclined to do so.

wrecsocialmediaad

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