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Ex-Sheriff Wannabe Back In Jail

One week after announcing he would not run for sheriff as he had recently planned, North Idaho businessman Adam M. Johnson was behind bars in Kootenai County. Johnson, 28, of Coeur d'Alene, was arrested Wednesday for technical violations of his probation, said Jeff Ray, a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Correction in Boise. Johnson was ordered to serve seven days discretionary jail time, Ray said. He said the violation wasn't significant enough for Johnson to go before a judge. Johnson was instructed to turn himself in to the jail, and he complied, Ray said/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: What advice would you give Adam Johnson?

Johnson Pulls Out Of Sheriff Race

Adam Johnson sent this Facebook message to HucksOnline: "After much consideration on whether to pursue official judicial clarification regarding the implications of how a withheld judgement differs from a straight conviction, I have made the decision to officially cease my pursuit of the office of Sheriff in the upcoming 2012 election cycle. Though disappointed that I will not be able to run this time around, the causes of such were the result of my own actions and lapse in judgement that led to the charges that now ultimately disqualify me from running for office. The experience up to this point has been exhilarating and the support I have received in this endeavor has been nothing short of amazing. I look forward to such time when there will be no barriers to my pursuit of public office and to restoring the public's faith in me that had been previously lost for reasons aforementioned. Here's to seeing you all again in 2016.

Question: Right call?

Felon ineligible for Kootenai Co. sheriff

A candidate for Kootenai County sheriff who shot a man in downtown Coeur d'Alene in 2009 and later pleaded guilty to a felony heroin charge is not eligible for the position, officials say.

 Adam Mathis Johnson, 27, cannot hold office because he's on probation for two years after pleading guilty to a felony controlled substance charge, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Thursday.

Johnson will get his rights restored once he completed a two-year probation term. Until then, he's also restricted from carrying firearms.

Johnson was arrested on drug charges in Post Falls in April.  He was arrested on an attempted murder charge in December 2009 after  a shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene that a grand jury ruled was self defense. Johnson's victim is suing his own civil lawyer for malpractice.

Johnson was featured in The Spokesman-Review a weekend before the shooting in a story about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.. He was also featured in 2007 in a story about his business, Convertec.

Johnson Not Qualified For Sheriff Run

The criminal history of a declared candidate for Kootenai County sheriff might prevent him from entering the race. Adam M. Johnson, a former North Idaho businessman and Post Falls Chamber of Commerce board member who played a central role in a high-profile shooting in downtown Coeur d'Alene, announced in January he planned to run. It's not the shooting, however, but a guilty plea to a heroin possession charge, a felony, last year that might derail his shot at being the county's top cop. "I knew he was convicted of a felony," said Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes. "I asked the prosecutor to review the law." Barry McHugh, the county's prosecutor, submitted a written opinion on Wednesday/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo: Adam Johnson Facebook wall)

Question: Would Johnson's candidacy have made any difference in the final outcome of the GOPrimary involving the sheriff's race?

McHugh: Johnson Ineligible For Sheriff

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh says sheriff hopeful Adam Johnson's probation status on a felony charge makes him ineligible to file a declaration of candidacy. McHugh sent the opinion Wednesday to Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes. Here's a copy of the opinion/Coeur d'Alene Press Online.


Letter: Johnson Candidacy A Farce

To begin with I believe The Press owes me a fresh bowl of cereal as I knocked mine over while laughing and reading the announcement of Adam Johnson running for sheriff of Kootenai County. According to the paper this is the same man who plugged two guys on Sherman Avenue sometime back and got away with it. He also pled guilty to felony possession of heroin last year. The story points out that Mr. Johnson is a failed businessman but remains as a board member of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce. WOW! What a resume. Mr. Johnson admits that he has absolutely no law enforcement experience but is quite confident that his financial background would be of great benefit to the operation of the Sheriff’s Department. Oh did I mention that his business is closed?/Michael J. Murphy of Hayden, in letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo from Adam Johnson Facebook page)

Question: Should Adam Johnson be running for county sheriff, given his total lack of law enforcement background and his scrapes with the law in recent years?

Johnson: KCSD Isn’t Paramilitary

On his Facebook wall, Adam Johnson, one of five candidates for the Kootenai County GOP nod, posts: "During the Sheriffs Candidate forum last night, one of the other candidates (sheriff's Major Ben Wolfinger) equated the sheriffs department to a paramilitary organization. A statement I wholeheartedly disagree with in every sense of the meaning. Thoughts?

Question: Do you consider the sheriff's department to be a paramilitary organization?

Johnson Explains Sheriff’s Candidacy

A former North Idaho businessman and Post Falls Chamber of Commerce board member who was involved in a high profile shooting in downtown Coeur d'Alene announced he is running for Kootenai County Sheriff. Adam M. Johnson, 27, will seek the elected post as a Republican. He said finding a solution to the jail capacity issue without asking taxpayers to a fund a new building is key for the county, as is trimming the sheriff's office budget while finding ways to financially incentivize deputies to remain here instead of leaving for other departments. Johnson said his recent legal troubles - which include a citation for consuming alcohol from the December 2009 shooting and a 2011 guilty plea for felony heroin possession - don't mean he isn't serious about the job/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: How will Adam Johnson's candidacy affect an increasingly crowded Republican race for Kootenai County sheriff?

JohnA: Idaho Sheriffs Can Be Felons

Item: Adam Johnson announces for sheriff/HucksOnline

JohnA: Well, unable to sleep, I did some research on who can be Sheriff in Idaho. Idaho Code 34-618 (2) states ‘No person shall be elected to the office of sheriff unless he has attained the age of twenty-one (21) years at the time of his election, is a citizen of the United States and shall have resided within the county one (1) year next preceding his election.’ That’s it. However, in 2008 Senate Bill 1356 would have changed the qualifications, adding ‘and is not a convicted felon’ to 34-618 (2). The bill also added training for newly elected Sheriffs. The bill was approved by the Senate but when it went to the House it was amended to remove ‘and is not a convicted felon’. How crazy is that? A person who can’t vote for themselves or carry a gun can still be a Sheriff in Idaho. And who in the House do you think seconded the motion to allow felons to be Sheriff? Our very own Phil Hart. :) Oh, my.

Question: Should Idaho change state law to prevent convicted felons from running for the office of sheriff?

Adam Johnson Announces For Sheriff

Following is the announcement made by Adam Johnson of Coeur d'Alene today that he will run for Kootenai County sheriff. Johnson is a Coeur d'Alene businessman who was involved in a December 2009 shooting that wounded two Mose Lake men. Johnson didn't say which party nomination he'll seek: : "Friends, Family, and citizens of Kootenai County, it is with great pleasure that I announce today, my intention to run for the office of Sheriff of Kootenai County in the upcoming 2012 election. A press release and press conference will be released and scheduled soon to formally announce these intentions with the public-at-large. In the meantime and throughout the season we will use the linked Facebook page, as well as a soon to be active website that will be used to provide updates, event notifications, how to contribute to the campaign/get involved, and other related items." (Photo from Adam Johnson Facebook page) More below.


Adam Johnson Rebuilds His Life

  • The article below is the 3rd in a 3-part series on a December 2009 shooting that involved Coeur d'Alene businessman Adam Johnson. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

For Adam Johnson, life is being rebuilt piece by piece. Two years is a blink of an eye, the 27-year-old says, but each day he's putting one piece on top of another. "My eyes have definitely been opened," said Johnson, sitting at a coffee shop recently in Coeur d'Alene. "Before I was young, successful, running a business. You kind of get some blinders on." Even after attempted murder and aggravated battery charges were dropped against him in January 2010 after a sealed grand jury found the shooting was in self defense, Johnson had questions of his own. If the shooting was ruled self defense, where were new charges against the aggressors? He was beaten so badly that around one year after the incident, doctors discovered he had several broken C7 and T1 vertebrae in his neck. And there were reports - which the Moses Lake visitors deny — that the visitors were kicked out of the Torch Lounge moments before the encounter/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think downtown Coeur d'Alene has gotten safer since the December 2009 shooting?

Man shot in CdA in ‘09 sues lawyer

A Moses Lake man who was shot by a Coeur d'Alene businessman nearly two years ago in what a grand jury ruled was self defense is suing his civil attorney for malpractice.

Brandon R. Burgess alleges Spokane lawyer Lloyd Herman directed him to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to determine whether they needed to file a claim in bankruptcy court after Adam M. Johnson filed for bankruptcy.

Burgess said his father responded that the procedure would not discharge their claim, and Herman responded by not filing an adversarial proceeding against Johnson.

Herman says that's not true - he always told Burgess he needed to file a claim in bankruptcy court, but Burgess took the wrong advice.

"I never put him in touch with any bankruptcy lawyer. he told me he had a bankruptcy lawyer," Herman said. "Instead of suing him he sued me"

Burgess is seeking damages to cover his medical expenses and others costs associated with the shooting. He had been seeking money from Johnson before his claim was dismissed because of the procedural error.

Herman said it's unlikely Burgess ever would have recovered civil damages after a grand jury rejected criminal charges against Johnson.

"The likelihood of them ever recovering once the state didn't charge him with a crime is slim or none," Herman said.

Johnson was arrested on drug charges in Post Falls in April. He pleaded guilty to possession of heroin in November and is to be sentenced in January. The plea deal, which dropped a drug paraphernalia charge, calls for him to serve time in a local jail.

CdA shooter arrested on heroin charge

A man who shot two men in downtown Coeur d’Alene in what a grand jury ruled was self defense  jail returned to on a heroin charge after a SWAT team raid in Post Falls.

Adam M. Johnson, 27, was in a room with a syringe loaded with heroin when police arrived on Friday with a search warrant.

Johnson, the founder of a telecommunications company and a member of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, “denied ownership of the syringe and advised me that he did not know who it belonged to,” according to a report by Post Falls police Detective Brian Williamson.

When he was arrested, Johnson had on him a plastic straw with brown residue, police say, which is typically used to ingest drugs.

Johnson told The Spokesman-Review on Tuesday that he’s passed a drug test and had no knowledge of drugs in the home until the raid.

Read my full story here.

Johnson was featured in The Spokesman-Review a weekend before the shooting in a story about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.. He was also featured in 2007 in a story about his business, Convertec.

Man cleared in CdA shooting

A man accused of shooting two men during a night of drinking in downtown Coeur d’Alene left jail Friday after a grand jury declined to indict him.

Adam M. Johnson, 25, said he shot Brandon R. Burgess and Bradley J. Phillips in self-defense after the men and their friends threatened him during an early-morning argument Dec. 27.

The men had argued at a bar hours earlier, and police said Johnson was attacked by the men only after he fired a gun at them.

A grand jury apparently disagreed and refused to indict Johnson, the CEO of a Coeur d’Alene-based telecommunications company.

Charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery were dismissed Friday in Kootenai County District Court.

“The facts in the case, I think, pointed to self-defense, absolutely,” said public defender Anne Taylor. “We were developing a very good case.”

Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public, and witness testimony and evidence is confidential. Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Art Verharen, who conducted the two-and-a-half-day proceeding, declined comment.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barry Black said he wished he knew what went into the decision.

“Are we disappointed? Sure,” Black said. “We felt that there probably was enough to go forward … otherwise, we wouldn’t have proceeded.”

Phillips, 25, told police Johnson pulled a .40-caliber handgun after one of Phillips’ friends said, “If you want to do something then let’s just settle it right now,” according to a police report.

Phillips was shot in the knee and Burgess, 25, was shot in the stomach when Johnson was tackled, according to police reports.

Read the rest of my story here.

Join the conversation at Dave Oliveria’s Huckleberries blog

Men shot in CdA seek payment

A Moses Lake man shot in downtown Coeur d’Alene has filed a complaint against the accused shooter, seeking at least $10,000 to cover medical costs and other damages.

Bradley J. Phillips, 25, was shot in the leg Dec. 27 in downtown Coeur d’Alene. A complaint filed Tuesday in Idaho’s 1st District Court says 25-year-old Adam M. Johnson negligently shot Phillips, resulting in more than $2,000 in medical costs.

Phillips’ friend Brandon R. Burgess, who was shot in the stomach, filed a complaint last week seeking lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses he said have exceeded $10,000, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Idaho’s 1st District Court.

Johnson is in Kootenai County Jail on charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery. He said he shot the men, who were with six others visiting Burgess’ mom for Christmas, out of fear.

Johnson is due in court tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. for a probable cause hearing. A grand jury has been hearing testimony in the case.

Past coverage: Gunman in CdA shooting claims self defense

2 men shot in downtown Coeur d’Alene

More details here.

Downtown CDA shooting concerns business owners

Young people partying and drinking in downtown Coeur d’Alene is nothing new; it’s been going on for years.

However, one thing that might have changed, several downtown business owners said Monday, is seeing young people bring guns along for the night. An early Sunday shooting outside a downtown bar left two young men hospitalized, one fighting for his life. In May, a young man was shot and killed outside a downtown bar after arguing with another patron.

Some business owners were surprised to discover they knew the suspected shooter in Sunday’s incident. Adam Johnson, 25, owns a telecommunications company and belongs to the same civic organizations they do. Full story.

Are downtown business owners right to be concerned? Do you feel safe after hours in the downtown area?

Johnson Claims Self Defense

A young businessman facing attempted murder charges after a chaotic confrontation in downtown Coeur d’Alene told police he felt threatened when he opened fire on a group of men looking for a fight.

“I did what I was trained,” Adam M. Johnson told police, according to court documents filed Monday. “I felt threatened and I didn’t feel that there was any other way out of it.” But authorities investigating the early Sunday shooting in the 200 block of Sherman Avenue that left two Moses Lake men with gunshot wounds are skeptical. Full Story.

Shooting suspect claims self defense

A young businessman facing attempted murder charges after a chaotic confrontation in downtown Coeur d’Alene told police he felt threatened when he opened fire on a group of men looking for a fight.

“I did what I was trained,” Adam M. Johnson told police, according to court documents filed Monday.

“I felt threatened and I didn’t feel that there was any other way out of it.”

But authorities investigating the early Sunday shooting in the 200 block of Sherman Avenue that left two Moses Lake men with gunshot wounds are skeptical.

They’re recommending that Johnson, 25, be charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery, concluding that it was the gunfire that appeared to have instigated the other violence.

Read the rest of my story here. Check out past coverage here.

The 93-page police report contained numerous tidbits that didn’t make it into the article. They are:

The fight at the Underground bar apparently began when one of the Moses Lake men bumped into Johnson, who was with two friends “who are or have been fighters at the Lyon’s Den,”according to a police report. The men went outside, talked and shook hands, Johnson told police. He went back to the Underground and the men left for another bar.

Johnson told police he was pushed, not hit, before he fired the first bullet. “Adam said as soon as he was jumped, he thought they were going to kill him,” according to the police report. “He stated that he tried to empty it (the clip) before he went to the ground because he knew that he would be killed.”

Johnson told police he always wore the gun in the front of his waist with no holster, according to police reports. He placed a round in the chamber after the men approached him, then backed up a few feet and fired, according to a police report. “I told Adam that witnesses said there was no physical altercation between he and the guy he shot, that Adam had just pulled his gun,” according to a report by Coeur d’Alene police Detective C. Miller. “Adam said he knows he felt threatened. He had a feeling that something was wrong.”

Johnson repeatedly asked police about protocols for officer-involved shootings and told detectives they would have done the same thing he did. “He said he was confronted with a group of people and it wasn’t just one person,” according to a police report. “They had ‘edged hostility.’ Adam continually pointed out what I would do as an officer and used his example for examples that I would encounter on and off duty.”

One of the men said the group had been asked to leave the Torch because the Burgesses’ mother and a friend “were getting out of hand, possibly with the stage dancers.”

When police asked Johnson for his personal information, “he said I could just check the front page of The Spokesman from last Sunday, since he was on the front of it,” according to a report. “I asked why but he said he did not want to talk about it.”

In interviews Monday, friends described Johnson as a level-headed, responsible young man trained on firearms and experienced in carrying them. “He is the epitome of a responsible gun owner, but he made a bad choice having it on him that night.” said Candace McEnespy, 23. “Those men were out looking for trouble.”

McEnespy, who identified herself to police as Johnson’s girlfriend, reportedly told police she was concerned about Johnson because of “the mood he was in tonight.” She said he’d been angry while at the Underground because someone tried starting a fight with him. McEnespy had approached a police officer in the 100 block of Third Street and asked what happened. “I explained some people had gotten out of control,” the officer wrote in a report. “She said that sounded like her boyfriend.”

Spoke: Anyone notice a broken window at Tito’s?

The CDA press offers a few additional details.

Spokelooneh says “The witness also said Johnson was thrown through a window at Tito Macaroni’s. Anybody notice if that window was broken or boarded up, or notice it getting replaced?” Full comment.


Big Brothers poster boy accused of attempted murder

The man accused of a shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene is the CEO and president of a Coeur d’Alene-based independent telecommunications company.

He also was featured last Sunday in a Handle Extra feature story on the mentoring program Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Johnson credited his participation in the program from age 10 to 16 with helping him prepare for adulthood.

“It really forged my character. Don taught me that nothing is impossible. And it was great to have someone listen – even to my totally crazy dreams. He always said, ‘Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,’” said Johnson.

Johnson also was mentioned in a July 2007 story about Internet-based phone services.

At the time, Convertec was three years old and served about 100 customers. Operating out of a small office, Convertec contracts with other companies to connect calls with the public telephone network, and it uses another vendor to get phone numbers, according to the article you can read here.

Now Johnson is in Kootenai County Jail on one count of attempted murder for a downtown Coeur d’Alene shoooting that left one man critically injured.

Read my story here: 2 men shot in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

HBO comes through for Reporter

Adam M. Johnson, 25, was arrested early Sunday, accused of shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene that left one person in critical condition.

Information provided by Huckster bpoole was instrumental in helping Meghann Cuniff break the story of last night’s shooting in downtown Cda. Says Cuniff: “It was huge, huge help. I was able to find the suspect’s name on the page, then confirm through the jail that the guy is the same guy arrested downtown this morning.” Full comment.

Read her story here.

I find it interesting that a commenter at OpenCDA criticized a reporter for asking for and following up tips posted on this blog. Because, uh…that’s exactly what a reporter is supposed to do. You know—- work sources, follow leads. Maybe some folks aren’t aware of the role social media plays in reporting the news.