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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Suspected card cheaters face felonies

Small bets at poker games at the Hooters casino in Spokane Valley have led to felony charges against two North Idaho men accused of the rarely prosecuted crime of cheating while gambling.

“Part of our mission is to keep gambling legal and honest so when the public goes in there to play, they know we have done everything in our power to make sure the game is fair on both sides,” said Gary Drumheller, spokesman for the Washington State Gambling Association in Spokane. “That the house is doing their part but also that the players aren’t in there doing things they shouldn’t.”

Read the rest of my story here.

What Does It Take To Can A Cop?

I’m hotter than a car hood baking under a July sun over the rehiring of Travis Smith, that disgrace of a deputy who was rightly canned last year by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. Smith racked up three internal investigations in one year, which could be some sort of record. His many infractions, including the mishandling of seized painkillers, established what Knezovich dubbed a poor performance pattern. No, duh. But the real nugget came when Smith committed malicious mischief by stabbing the seat of a truck he was searching like Brutus skewering Caesar. Claimed he thought it was funny. Et, tu, Travis? The bottom line is that Ozzie did the right thing for humankind by firing this clown. But apparently we have gone through the looking glass/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Which is harder to do — can a cop in Spokane County or properly discipline a Republican lawmaker behaving badly in the Idaho Legislature?

Fired sheriff’s deputy gets job back

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy who was fired after he damaged a suspect’s car and mishandled drugs from a crime scene has been rehired following a state arbitrator’s ruling.

Deputy Travis Smith was terminated last January for what Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich called a “pattern” of poor work performance, but he was rehired after the arbitrator found that while there was just cause for disciplining him, he should keep his job.

Read the rest of Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 10: Sheriff's deputy fired for bad behavior

Sheriff’s deputy fired for bad behavior

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy was fired recently after multiple investigations into allegations of criminal misconduct and poor work performance revealed a pattern of bad behavior.

“If you’re a law enforcement officer, you shouldn’t be committing crimes,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

The latest internal investigation of former Deputy Travis Smith’s behavior began last year after Smith stuck a knife into someone’s seat while searching their vehicle.

He had initiated a routine traffic stop and, after finding some marijuana, obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and seized it. A search the next day turned up brass knuckles with a three- to four-inch knife blade attached and a bandanna with a swastika on it.

Read the rest of Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Mortgage modifiers barred,

Three men who operated a Post Falls mortgage modification business will return $7,000 to clients, and pay $1,000 in fees and costs, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today.

Randy Allen, Clint Paulsen, and Travis Smith did not admit any wrongdoing in a consent agreement that will also bar them from further activity related to negotiating new mortgage terms for distressed homeowners.

Wasden’s office received six complaints about HomeModifier, a business they owned as APS Northwest Idaho LLC. HomeModifier did not have the proper licenses from the Idaho Department of Finance.

Consumers said they paid for services they never received.

“While I understand thate these three men never meant to injure consumers, this case serves as a warning to all modifications companies,” said Wasden, who made scrutiny of mortgage modifiers a priority after Coeur d’Alene-based Apply 2 Save Inc. victimized hundreds of clients before closing in May 2009.