Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Montana Judge Who Gave Rapist Lenient Sentence, Blamed Victim, Censured by Montana Supreme Court

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 3:29 PM

A Montana judge who gave a rapist a 30-day sentence and said the victim shared responsibility for the crime was publicly reprimanded by the Montana Supreme Court July 22, the Associated Press reports.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh, of Billings, Mont., appeared before the highest court in Montana, where Chief Justice Mike McGrath read a prepared statement of censure—a rare move used to publicly indicate that a judge is guilty of misconduct. But censure is more than a slap on the wrist: Baugh will also be suspended from his bench for 31 days, beginning in December.

"We have determined that, through your inappropriate comments, you have eroded public confidence in the judiciary and created an appearance of impropriety in violation of the Montana Code of Judicial Conduct," McGrath said.

According to the AP, Baugh did not speak during his censure hearing and left the courtroom immediately afterward, not responding to questions from reporters. 

Last year, Baugh sentenced Stacey Rambold, a business teacher at Billings Senior High School at the time of the 2007 rape, to 30 days in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent. Rambold's victim was one of his students. She committed suicide while the case was pending trial.

During Rambold's trial, Baugh said that Rambold's victim was "probably as much in control of the situation as the defendant," and that she "appeared older than her chronological age."

Rambold completed his original sentence last fall and has registered as a sex offender, but the Montana Supreme Court ruled in April 2014 that the case required re-sentencing, and Rambold is expected to receive a new sentence Sept. 26.


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Dog Dies at Table Rock Trailhead, a Preventable Accident

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Jasper died on July 20 after he entered a ditch of scalding water near the Table Rock trailhead parking lot. - COURTESY OF JAIME HANSEN
  • Courtesy of Jaime Hansen
  • Jasper died on July 20 after he entered a ditch of scalding water near the Table Rock trailhead parking lot.


Carrie Semmelroth and her border collie, Jasper, hiked up Table Rock pretty regularly. Sunday, July 20, was just another one of those hikes. At the end of it, on the way back to the car near the Bishop’s House, Jasper ran over to a little stream to get a drink and cool off.

Then Semmelroth heard a “horrific howl.” She ran over to Jasper, confused. He looked like he was just in the stream, cooling off. But he wasn’t. He was scalding. Semmelroth grabbed her dog and started pulling him out of the water when her foot slipped in. The water was almost boiling.

Paul Whitworth got a panicked phone call from his significant other and rushed to the trailhead. Jasper was badly burned, and it took only minutes for the dog they rescued from the pound seven years ago to die.

“Jasper was our hiking buddy,” Whitworth said. “It really caught us off-guard. I mean, who would expect something that dangerous, that could kill something so fast, to be open and unmarked?”

Two days earlier, the city of Boise needed to work in two manholes on Warm Springs Avenue. In between those manholes is 10 inches of distribution line, pressurized and pumping 150 gallons per minute of 174-degree geothermal water, owned by the Boise Warm Springs Water District.

The innocuous-looking ditch that killed Jasper has since been fenced off by the Boise Warm Springs Water District. - COURTESY OF JAIME HANSEN
  • Courtesy of Jaime Hansen
  • The innocuous-looking ditch that killed Jasper has since been fenced off by the Boise Warm Springs Water District.

For the safety of the workers, the private entity decided to turn off their pumps, according to the chairman of the board, Patrick Frischmuth. Those pumps are right next to the Bishop’s House by the Table Rock trailhead parking lot.

That water started backing up in an artesian fashion, and overflowing into a small ditch by the parking lot—something that hasn’t happened in the eight years Frischmuth has been with the company, if not longer.

“The only reason the water was even there was because we had to shut our pumps off. It was a collision of events,” Frischmuth said. “We feel very bad about [Jasper] and we’re very sorry it happened.”

The Boise Warm Springs Water District is paid for by its customers, some 300 homes and businesses heated by geothermal water. It has no connection to the city, and because of that, the city said it can’t do anything, like post warning signs.

“It’s not our property,” Vince Trimboli said. “It’s not our place to put up signs.”

After Jasper died, the Boise Warm Springs Water District did put up warning signs and orange fencing around the ditch. But Whitworth, Jasper’s owner, said he wished they would have done that before the weekend.

“With so many people hiking their dogs there over the weekend, I don’t think anyone would expect 174 degree water to be running freely,” he said.

Frischmuth agreed with the dog’s owners. His colleagues even had this conversation on Friday afternoon, two days before Jasper died.

“We said, ‘Gosh, this is a potential problem with people getting into this water.’ In fact, I made the statement, ‘It would be awful if a dog or a child got into that,’ but you don’t know what’s actually going to happen until it happens. It’s like driving down the highway, thinking, ‘It would be really awful to get in an accident,’ and then getting into an accident. We talked about it, but we could’t have solved it by any means,” Frischmuth said.

And Saturday, there was no problem. It wasn’t until Sunday that the water started to overflow and become a risk.

But Frischmuth said the company is now working hard to find a solution to keep that water underground. He said he’s having an emergency meeting with the board of directors to allocate money to engineer a solution and remove the public safety threat as quickly as possible.

As for Whitworth and Semmelroth, he said they’re still grieving.

“We really loved Jasper,” Whitworth said. “We’re pretty heartbroken about losing him, and losing him in such a traumatic way. It could have been prevented and it wasn’t.”


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Boise 'Heliotrope' Finds New Home ... in BoDo

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:52 PM

'Heliotrope' at its original location on the corner of Eighth and Main streets. - KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • 'Heliotrope' at its original location on the corner of Eighth and Main streets.

Heliotrope, the $42,000 public art work by Dwaine Carver and Trout Architects that was uprooted by construction on the City Center Plaza and spent weeks on its side in an empty lot at the corner of Fairview Avenue and 24th Street, has a new home.

July 22, the Boise City Council was set to approve Heliotrope's transplantation to Eighth and Front streets. That's also the location of Amy Westover and architecture firm McKibben and Cooper's Virgo, and almost exactly a block away from Litharacnium. The three works are part of the public art series Eco Art on Eighth, which pairs local artists with architecture firms to produce ecologically inspired works.

The budget for removing, storing and relocating Heliotrope is $18,000. That budget is being shared by Capital City Development Corporation and City of Boise. The piece is expected to be fully installed by the end of August.
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U.S. Attorney: Coeur d'Alene Man Sentenced For Child Pornography Possession

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM


A Coeur d'Alene man will be spending the next five years in prison, in addition to five years of supervised release, for being found in possession of sexually explicit images of children. Wade Thomas Weingart, 39, has also been ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to a child identified within his child pornography collection.

Weingart pleaded guilty to the charge Jan. 30.

According to statements made in court, a police officer working with the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force learned that a Coeur d'Alene-area computer had made child pornography available on the Internet, including several images of minors being sexually abused by adults. The officer gathered more information via the Internet and an Internet service provider, determining that the images stemmed from a computer at Weingart's Coeur d'Alene home. 

In January, a federal search warrant was served on Weingart's residence, and the suspect admitted to possessing the pornography. A forensic examiner found more than 60 videos of minors being sexually abused, and some children were identified and found to hail from Washington, Georgia, Utah, Canada and Germany.


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Idaho Granted Another No Child Left Behind Extension

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM


The Gem State has been granted its second extension for implementation of No Child Left Behind standards, the Twin Falls Times-News reports.

No Child Left Behind uses a pass-fail system based exclusively on student test scores to determine funding levels, but the state of Idaho has been using a five-star scale that measures academic growth, test scores, graduation rates and how many students take advanced classes. 

The transition from Idaho's existing educational standards to those of NCLB could be difficult for schools with high poverty rates, have a high concentration of students for whom English is a second language, and other at-risk populations.

"Achievement alone [as a benchmark] can be really hard," said Greg Alexander, Idaho State Board of Education director of Statewide System of Support . "When you're dealing with those kinds of situations, teachers get disappointed."

Idaho is one of 43 states that have active NCLB waivers. Thirty-five of those waivers expire this summer, and among those, 31 states have submitted extension requests. Idaho's extension is one of eight received by states since May 3.
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Police Blotter: Strangers Pounding on the Door, Delivery of Drugs, and Another DUI

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Aaron M. Dyer, 24, was charged with a felony DUI, and the following misdemeanors:  possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, disturbing the peace and an open container violation. - ADA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Ada County Sheriff's Office
  • Aaron M. Dyer, 24, was charged with a felony DUI, and the following misdemeanors: possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, disturbing the peace and an open container violation.


Boise Police were called to a home near East Barber Drive and Shady Lane around 1:30 a.m. on July 18, when a man was yelling and pounding on the front door, and trying to get into the house. The woman inside told officers she didn't know the man and feared for the safety of her children, according to the BPD Weekend Watch Log

The man, Aaron M. Dyer, 24, of Nampa, was still in the yard, yelling, when officers arrived on the scene. They found him with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Not far from the house was the man's vehicle, which he had crashed through a nearby fence and landed in a ditch before approaching the home. Officers found an open bottle of vodka in the car, as well as five grams of marijuana and smoking paraphernalia.

Dyer's breath test scored a .141/.139, and officers found he has two prior convictions for driving under the influence in the last 10 years (in May 2008 and in February 2012). He was arrested and booked into the Ada County Jail.

Kevin S. Dias, 27, was charged with the felonies of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled Schedule II substance, and the misdemeanor of drug paraphernalia possession. Arlee R. Dealy, 30, was charged with the felonies of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled Schedule II substance, and the following misdemeanors: possession of drug paraphernalia, contempt and failure to appear. - ADA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Ada County Sheriff's Office
  • Kevin S. Dias, 27, was charged with the felonies of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled Schedule II substance, and the misdemeanor of drug paraphernalia possession. Arlee R. Dealy, 30, was charged with the felonies of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled Schedule II substance, and the following misdemeanors: possession of drug paraphernalia, contempt and failure to appear.

Over on the bench early Friday morning, a police officer pulled over a vehicle for running a stop sign at South Owyhee Street and Cherry Lane. When officers were given consent to search the vehicle, they found the driver, Kevin S. Dias, 27, of Boise, to be in possession of two baggies adding up to six grams of methamphetamine. The passenger, Arlee R. Dealy, 30, of Boise, possessed more than 11 grams of meth, Morphine Sulfate pills, a digital scale and drug paraphernalia. A vehicle search revealed two dozen Oxycodone Hydrochloride pills, another digital scale, and a hypodermic syringe. 

Officers arrested both and booked them in the Ada County Jail.

Craig R. Cayko, 50, was charged with a felony DUI and an open container violation (misdemeanor). - ADA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Ada County Sheriff's Office
  • Craig R. Cayko, 50, was charged with a felony DUI and an open container violation (misdemeanor).

On Thursday evening, July 17, Boise Police responded to a citizen's call about a car in the parking lot on the 1600 block of South Vista Avenue. The car was running, but the driver appeared to be unconscious at the wheel. The citizen told dispatchers that he tried to wake the driver, but couldn't.

When officers arrived, they found an open container of alcohol next to the driver and smelled a strong oder of alcohol on his breath. They were able to wake the man and his speech was slow and slurred. He failed field sobriety tests and blew a .164/.159. Craig R. Cayko, 50, of Boise was convicted of a DUI in 2000 and 2006, making this DUI charge a felony. He was booked at the Ada County Jail.  
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