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Judge calls Œbargains¹ too lenient

| March 9, 2004 11:00 PM

By Brent Shrum, Western News Reporter

Judge Michael Prezeau rejected as too lenient the sentences recommended in plea agreements signed by two defendants who appeared in district court for sentencing on Monday.

³I¹m not going to give you a deferred sentence,² Prezeau told Daniel Keith Kuykendall. ³I might give a suspended sentence, although I¹m going to have to hold my nose to do that.²

Kuykendall, 22, was arrested in December outside the Home Bar in Troy and charged with two counts of assault with a weapon, misdemeanor theft and trespass to a vehicle. According to court documents, Kuykendall stole two .22-caliber revolvers out of a vehicle and pointed them at at least two people who confronted him.

One of the victims in the case reported that Kuykendall pulled the triggers on the revolvers in an attempt to fire them at him, but the guns were not loaded. The police officer who arrested Kuykendall reported in his affidavit that Kuykendall was ³extremely intoxicated and uncooperative.²

Kuykendall pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon in exchange for a recommendation from the county attorney¹s office for a six-year deferred imposition of sentence, which would give him the chance to have the offense removed from his record.

Kuykendall¹s attorney, Ann German, pointed out to Prezeau that the case represents Kuykendall¹s first adult felony although he has an extensive juvenile criminal history.

Prezeau pointed out that Kuykendall also has three misdemeanor assaults on his adult record and said it appeared to him that the only reason he wasn¹t facing homicide charges was that the guns he stole weren¹t loaded.

German said she was not prepared for a hearing on Kuykendall¹s sentence and asked for time to discuss the case with her client. Prezeau continued the case until Monday, March 15, to give Kuykendall time to decide if he wants to withdraw his plea or proceed with sentencing.

³Well Ms. German, here we go again,² Prezeau said as he turned his attention to the next defendant, Richard Todd Glazier. ³I¹m having trouble with the proposed sentence in this case and I don¹t feel like I can be bound by the plea agreement and follow the sentence.²

Glazier, 31, was arrested in October following a traffic stop along U.S. Highway 2 near Radio Shack west of Libby. He was charged with three counts of criminal endangerment — a felony — along with misdemeanor charges of DUI, driving with a suspended license, failure to show proof of insurance, resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer.

According to an affidavit filed by a county sheriff¹s deputy, instead of getting out of his car when he was told he was under arrest, Glazier put the car in gear and sped away from the scene. Two officers who attempted to stop Glazier from driving away were dragged along with the vehicle for a short distance before they were able to let go.

The officers pursued Glazier at speeds of up to 90 mph to the Cedar Creek area, where he pulled off the highway at his mother¹s home. According to the deputy¹s affidavit, Glazier refused to comply with the arresting officers and fought detention officers while being booked at the county jail.

Glazier pleaded guilty to criminal endangerment in exchange for a recommendation for a five-year commitment to the state Department of Corrections with a recommendation for placement in a pre-release facility.

In rejecting the sentence, Prezeau pointed out that Glazier has seven felony convictions on his adult record and put the lives of law enforcement officers at risk. He continued the matter for one week to allow Glazier time to discuss his case with his attorney.

In the final sentencing of the day, Prezeau lauded the defendant for taking responsibility for his own actions and neither offering excuses nor entering into a plea bargain.

Bryan Keith Schloss, 20, was charged with burglary and misdemeanor theft when some furniture turned up missing from his place of employment, Libby Woodworks. Schloss pleaded guilty but received nothing in return from the county attorney¹s office.

County Attorney Bernie Cassidy recommended a five-year commitment to the Department of Corrections with three years suspended and a recommendation for placement in a boot camp facility. German, who represented Schloss as well, offered no objection.

Prezeau went along with the boot camp recommendation but amended the sentence so that it would not be suspended unless Schloss successfully completes the program. The modification would give Schloss an incentive to succeed at the camp, Prezeau reasoned.

Prezeau told Schloss he isn¹t happy with his performance in the county jail and that he needs to learn to be more respectful, but he also congratulated Schloss for taking responsibility for his crimes.

³You just walked up to the plate and told me what you did, and that¹s good,² he said.