Wolf Point Herald

Oil Well Blows Near Watford City

A Whiting Petroleum well near Watford City, N.D., blew Friday, Feb. 13, and was reported to have spilled 200 barrels of oil per hour by the next morning.
No injuries were reported.
According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources the cause was a failure of the bottom piece of a three-part blow out preventer.

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Several Appear In District Court Feb. 11

District Judge David Cybulski heard several cases during Law and Motion proceeding in 15th District Court Wednesday, Feb. 11.
Joel Campos
Joel Campos, 37, of Las Cruces, N.M., withdrew a previously entered not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to felony possession of dangerous drugs.
Campos admitted to felony possession of dangerous drugs in Roosevelt County on Dec. 27, 2013.
Cybulski found him guilty and denied a request by Campos to waive a pre-sentencing investigation and report and be sentenced immediately. Campos said he wanted to go to treatment for substance abuse.
Cybulski said he could not waive the PSI because the plea agreement calls for a five-year sentence to the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with two years suspended.
Scott Crain
Scott Crain, 27, of Froid was released from the Roosevelt County Jail on his own recognizance after he withdrew previously entered not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
He had pleaded not guilty Sept. 24 to criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Crain admitted in court that he possessed methamphetamine in Froid Aug. 27.
Bruce Johnson
Bruce Johnson, 57, of Poplar was sentenced to a commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections for 653 days and taken into custody immediately.
Johnson had appeared for an disposition hearing for alleged probation and parole violations during late January. At that time Cybulski found him in violation and continued the hearing to allow Johnson to get his affairs in order.
Johnson was originally sentenced in 2008 and had numerous violations during 2014 that included the Montana Highway Patrol charging him with driving under the influence and other incidents where he was caught with marijuana, methamphetamine and other drugs, and driving on a suspended license.
Kandace Poole
Kandace Poole, 26, of Williston, N.D., withdrew previously entered not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
She admitted in court that she was in possession of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in Roosevelt County on Dec. 27, 2013.
She had entered her not guilty pleas in May 2014.
Cybulski found her guilty.
He ordered that she be released on her own recognizance following a defense motion for release.
Cybulski had denied a defense request for a reduction in bail nine months ago, that had been set at $50,000.
At that time, Assistant County Attorney Jordan Knudsen cited a previous drug offense in North Dakota as a reason the request should be denied.
Carroll Wells
Carroll Wells, 35, of Fairview appeared for an arraignment on felony charges of burglary and theft. He said he had not spoken to his defense attorney. He will enter pleas Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Wells had been wanted in Roosevelt County on a warrant and was transferred last week from the jail in Dickinson, N.D., where he had been held for about a year for a North Dakota case.

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Four Residents Face Federal Indictments

Three people from Poplar and one from Nashua were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston in Great Falls following the unsealing of federal indictments Tuesday, Feb. 10.
James Campbell
James Campbell, 37, of Poplar pleaded not guilty to a charge of strangulation.
He faces a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and three years supervised release.
The alleged non-fatal incident occurred July 16, 2013, near Poplar, and involved an assault of what court documents call “ an intimate and dating partner of the defendant.”
Campbell was arrested Feb. 12.
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice investigated the case.
Sara Darnell
Sara Darnell, 42, of Poplar pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.
She faces a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, $5 million in fines and four years supervised release.
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice and the Bureau of Indian Affairs investigated the case.
Gary Drum
Gary Drum, 27, of Poplar pleaded not guilty to burglary.
He faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, $50,000 in fines and three years supervised release.  
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice investigated the case.
Jeffrey Helm
Jeffrey Helm, 60, of Nashua pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and morphine, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and morphine, and distribution of oxycodone and morphine.
He faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, $1 million in fines and three years supervised release.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case.

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Roosevelt County Jail Roster For Feb. 19, 2015

(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence.)
As of Tuesday, Feb. 17, 17 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Fort Benton Detention Center was holding one male to alleviate overcrowding.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Monday, Feb. 9, and Monday, Feb. 17:
•Amos Bridges, 38, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs; criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest;
•Joel Campos, 37, Las Cruces, N.M., felony possession of dangerous drugs;
•Dale A. Cooper, 38, Wolf Point, arrested on Roosevelt County warrant;
•Ben Deacon, 24, Anchorage, Alaska, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Rebecca Deacon, 22, Anchorage, Alaska, driving under the influence, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;  
•Kyle Fuchs, 32, Cul-
bertson, disorderly conduct, partner/family member assault, assault with weapon, unlawful restraint, criminal endangerment;
•Christopher Hovey, 25, Lansing, Mich., felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Bruce Johnson, 57, Poplar, sentenced and awaiting to be transported to Montana State Prison;  
•Jason Knight, 37; Spokane, Wash., criminal possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Darryl Lewis, 45, San Bernadino, Calif., criminal contempt warrant;
•Robert Lindquist,  Chattoroy, Wash., 41, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence;
•Anthony Miller, 22, Wolf Point, contempt of court, bonded out Feb. 14.
•Timothy Oglesby, 31, Wolf Point, sexual intercourse without consent and incest, awaiting sentencing;
•Jeremy Sepanski, 30, Plentywood, awaiting transfer to the Montana Department of Corrections and Sheridan County hold;
•Brian B. Suggs, 33, Mesa, Ariz., driving under the influence, criminal endangerment, failure to carry proof of insurance, driving a motor vehicle while the privilege to do so is revoked and fail to stop immediately at property damage accident;
•Deneen Swifteagle, 39, Wolf Point, driving a motor vehicle while suspended; and South Dakota warrant;  
•Kouchi Wagner, 44, Kalispell, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;   
•Carroll G. Wells, 35, Fairview, criminal contempt warrant.

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Is The State Supreme Court Beach’s Get Out Of Jail Card?

2.12.15.BARRY-BEACH-RACICOT CARTOON-web2.12.15.BARRY-BEACH-KIM-NEES2.12.15.BARRY-BEACH-BARRY-MUG

This cartoon by retired Miles City Star publisher John Watson ran in the Great Falls Tribune in late January and we are running it with permission from both. This cartoon does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Herald-News.  We have also posted a photo of Barry Beach during a 2012 court appearance and an undated photo of Kim Nees, who Beach was convicted of killing more than three decades ago.

The focal point of a hearing before the Montana Supreme Court in Helena Wednesday, Feb. 4, was not whether Barry Beach killed Kim Nees nearly 36 years ago, but rather on the constitutionality of his 100-year sentence without eligibility for parole for a crime that occurred when he was 17 years old.
The high court heard oral arguments on a petition Beach’s attorneys filed in October, asking to be re-sentenced in the 1979 beating death, a crime Beach denies any guilt for.
Beach’s attorneys, Peter Camiel of Seattle, Wash., and Terrance Toavs of Wolf Point argued that Beach, who will turn 53 Feb. 15, was 17 at the time of the murder he was convicted of and that the sentence, which amounts to life in prison, was not legal based on his age at the time of the crime a jury convicted him of in 1984.
The Montana’s Attorney General’s Office argued that the legal precedent does not extend to murder cases.
Toavs cited Miller vs. Alabama, a United States Supreme Court Case in 2012 where the court held by a majority opinion of justices that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders are unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which forbids mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.
Toavs said youth and its intending characteristics that include controlling temper and how a teenager thinks mitigate on the harshest penalties a court could impose.
Toavs said the Miller vs. Alabama constitutionality argument to the Montana Constitution is new.
“This is unplowed ground here,” Toavs said.
Beach’s mother Bobbie Clincher emerged from the hearing cautiously optimistic.
“We’ve been shot down so many times. It’s hard to be optimistic but I’d like to be,” she told The Herald-News Thursday, Feb. 5.
Clincher said she was told it would take two weeks to two months or longer for the high court to render a decision.
“They say they try to get their decisions rendered within 90 days,” Clincher said.
“It’s hard to say how long the Supreme Court is going to take to decide the appeal,” Toavs said.
“My best guess is it is going to be six months. What we’re talking about is sentencing of children who commit horrible crimes,” he said.
Toavs cited juvenile brain development.
“You can’t judge their conduct as adults based on how they act as juveniles,” he said.
Toavs said there is emerging social understanding on how young people mature and culpability for crimes.
“This is important to Montana,” he said.
Clincher also said a California case was cited where the unconstitutionality of a sentence was ruled retroactive in a challenge to a sentence that was rendered years ago.
“The question is, who do you apply it to [new or old cases]?” Toavs asked.
Toavs said Beach is the only person in Montana who got a 100-year sentence with no parole that is alive today.
Toavs said the court is pondering three possible decisions: to send Beach’s fate back to district court for re-sentencing; remove the no possibility of parole and return the case to the parole board; or rule that Miller vs. Alabama does not apply to Beach’s case and deny the appeal.
Toavs said the most likely outcome would be a decision to send the case back to district court for re-sentencing.
If that occurs, it would likely be before 7th District Judge Katherine Bide-
garay of Sidney, according to Toavs.
Fifteenth District Judge David Cybulski recused himself from a hearing for Beach several years ago because he had denied a petition for post conviction relief and was reversed on appeal.
“Our hope would be that [Bidegaray] would sentence him to no longer than 30 years, which he has already served,” Clincher said.
Beach has never wavered on his assertion of innocence in the 1979 murder of his Poplar High School classmate.
The conviction in 17th District Court in Glasgow in April 1984 was based on Beach confessing to the crime following an interrogation by investigators from a Louisiana sheriff’s office, but later said his confession was coerced.
Daily newspapers in Billings, Great Falls and Missoula have reported that people from Poplar other than Beach claimed responsibility for the murder and some said they witnessed people other than Beach killing Nees.
There were allegations that the Poplar Police Department had contaminated evidence shortly after the Nees murder.
Marc Racicot, who served as governor from 1993 to 2001, was an assistant attorney general in 1984 and was appointed special prosecutor for the state’s case against Beach.
Dateline NBC reported in 2008 that Racicot told jurors to ignore all evidence police had contaminated.
The Missoulian reported during Beach’s first clemency hearing in 2007 that Racicot, while still maintaining his assertion that Beach was guilty, admitted that the crime scene was contaminated by the investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies.
According to the Dateline NBC transcript, Camiel said the prosecution told the jury they had evidence they didn’t actually have.
Dateline’s Keith Morrison asked Camiel, “Are you saying that the prosecutor in the trial actually crossed an ethical line in terms of what he failed to tell the jury and what he alleged to the jury that wasn’t true?”
Camiel’s responded, “There was misconduct.”
Montana courts other than the 17th District have reviewed the case and ruled that there was no misconduct.
In June, the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole rejected an application for a full clemency hearing for Beach. He also had an unsuccessful bid for clemency in 2007.

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