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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: disturbing the peace

Man rejects plea deal in Census gun case

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A St. Maries man accused of firing his shotgun over the car of a U.S. Census worker last year has rejected a deal from prosecutors that would have reduced the charge to disturbing the peace.

Richard L. Powell, 54, is charged with exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.

His attorney, David Lohman, says Powell does not intend to accept the plea from the Benewah County prosecutor's office.

Powell is accused of shooting over the Census worker's car as he left Powell's property on March 3.

“My client is looking forward to his day in court,” Lohman told The Coeur d'Alene Press.

The worker tried to deliver Powell the population-county questionnaire, but Powell told him repeatedly to leave. When the Census worker told Powell he would leave the questionnaire outside, Powell went into his house, came back outside and fired the weapon, according to court documents.

The census worker told sheriff's deputies that Powell had said “he did not want Federalies on his property” and that “his name is Rick Powell and he means business.”

Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne said his motivation for offering a lesser offense is to avoid confusing language in the Idaho statute regarding exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.

According to the statute, exhibition or use of a deadly weapon identifies people who use or draw any deadly weapon unnecessarily in the presence of two or more people.

Confusion on whether “the two or more” includes the alleged weapon user can be argued either way at trial.

“I just wish we could get the exhibition statute cleaned up,” Payne said. “It creates problems at trial.”

A trial date in the case has not yet been set.

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