Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prison ordered in felony drug case

Judge issues stay of execution pending case appeal


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Robert Javier Garcia Jr.

    A 27-year-old Hailey man, indicted by a Blaine County grand jury in 2011 on a felony drug charge, was sentenced Monday to more than four and a half years in prison. However, 5th District Judge Robert Elgee issued a stay of execution of sentence for Robert Javier Garcia Jr. pending the outcome of an appeal filed on his behalf to the Idaho Supreme Court.
    Elgee explained during sentencing that he issued the stay, requested by Hailey attorney Cheri Hicks, who was assigned as public defender, because “it was a very close case.”
    Elgee was referring to a jury trial held in August on a charge against Garcia of aiding and abetting delivery of methamphetamine in a drug sale more than two years ago to a police confidential informant. While the jury found Garcia guilty, the judge noted that it took the jury several hours to reach that decision.
    With the stay issued, Garcia is allowed to remain free on $40,000 bond.


“I was arrested at my job site and had no way idea what was going on.”
Robert Javier Garcia Jr.
Defendant


   Hicks filed the appeal on two counts. First, she is appealing a denial of acquittal for her client during the trial by Elgee. Second, Hicks claims that hearsay evidence was allowed to be presented against Garcia during the trial.
    With the filing of the appeal, Hicks is now removed from the case. Instead, it has been assigned to the Idaho State Appellate Public Defender’s Office.
    Garcia was one of nine people indicted by a grand jury in June 2011 on various felony drug charges. Six other people named in the indictments have been convicted and sentenced to prison, while two others remain at large.
    The Garcia case trailed behind the other cases because he was not arrested until last March by U.S. marshals, acting on a Blaine County warrant, near Santa Fe, N.M.
    “I was arrested at my job site and had no way idea what was going on,” Garcia stated in a letter read by Hicks at Monday’s sentencing. “I ask you to please allow me to stay and have a chance to support my family.”
  Garcia was convicted by the jury of assisting in a methamphetamine sale on Aug. 25, 2010, to a confidential informant for the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team.
   Three members of the team, often referred to as the NET, attended Monday’s hearing and seemed pleased with the sentence, shaking hands with Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback when the hearing was over. The NET officers present were Blaine County Sheriff’s Detective Mark Dalton, Sun Valley police Cpl. Mike Abaid and sheriff’s Sgt. Corey Weatherly, who is on medical leave after suffering a broken neck in an off-duty accident in Ketchum on July 15.
    Garcia was sentenced to a fixed term of 26 months in prison with an additional indeterminate sentence, when an inmate is eligible for parole, of 30 months.


Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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