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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Sergeant pleads guilty to touching co-worker

A Medical Lake police sergeant has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault for touching a female co-worker’s breast in January 2008, city officials announced Tuesday.

The crime is a gross misdemeanor.

Joseph Mehrens remains on paid administrative leave while an internal investigation is conducted, according to a news release from the city of Medical Lake.

City Hall officials were available for comment Tuesday.

The sergeant, a 12-year Police Department veteran who makes $48,734 a year, has been on paid administrative leave since August 2008.

Mehrens had been named interim police chief the month the encounter occurred. He was disciplined internally following the woman’s report, but officials have refused to say how.

Jody Lawrence-Turner

Pocatello, Idaho

Judge orders man’s mouth taped shut

An eastern Idaho judge who lost patience with a defendant’s disruptive behavior ordered court officials to tape the man’s mouth shut during a court hearing.

The move was ordered by 6th District Judge Peter D. McDermott during a probation violation hearing for Nicklas Frasure, 23.

Frasure was convicted of felony theft in 2008, but the judge retained jurisdiction for sentencing depending on Frasure’s response to mental health treatment. He is accused of violating his probation by failing to take prescribed medication.

During Monday’s hearing, Frasure interrupted the proceedings with repeated verbal outbursts and unusual behavior and ignored several orders from McDermott to restrain himself. After another series of outbursts, McDermott told bailiffs to silence Frasure.

The bailiffs then found a roll of duct tape, tore off a piece and put it over Frasure’s mouth, according to the Idaho State Journal.

The Idaho Judicial Council did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Associated Press

Boise

Idaho Senate passes guns-at-work bill

Legislation designed to encourage employers to let workers bring guns to work and leave them in their cars passed the Idaho Senate on Tuesday on a 26-8 vote.

House Bill 287 grants immunity from lawsuits to Idaho employers who let their employees store their firearms in their vehicles at work.

The bill originally was promoted in the House in part as a way to encourage Cabela’s to end a policy forbidding employees from keeping guns in their cars at work, but the sporting goods retailer said it has no such policy.

Backed by the National Rifle Association, the measure passed anyway; it now goes to the governor.

Betsy Z. Russell

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