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In a unanimous opinion issued last week, the high court’s nine justices sided with Stevens County Superior Court judges who sought to preside over preliminary hearings in cases that were originally filed in District Court. Such hearings often determine whether a defendant will be let out of jail while awaiting trial.
The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to review the matter and sort out which judges have jurisdiction over initial court hearings, which often determine if a person will be let out of jail while awaiting trial.
Judge Gary Libey had been expected to decide whether to unseal records in the case, in which Michael Price, the presiding judge in Spokane County Superior Court, sued a cat owner, Jennifer Tanaka-Fees, who lived behind him on the South Hill.
A case that began with cat pee on a judge’s porch took another unusual turn Friday when the judge hearing the case recused himself due to a potential conflict of interest. As it turns out, both judges have been represented by the same attorney in separate legal matters.
A jury ruled Thursday that Spokane County was not negligent in the death of an 84-year-old juror, who apparently lost his way and froze to death on the steps of the courthouse in 2007.
COLVILLE – Investigators say they have video evidence that a Nine Mile Falls physician accused of drugging and raping a 13-year old boy last weekend has victimized other minors. Dr. Craig Morgenstern, an emergency room doctor at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was arrested Wednesday for the second time this week. The new child pornography case stems from a video found in a desktop computer recovered from Morgenstern’s home by detectives. The video shows Morgenstern performing sex acts on the same victim in the alleged child rape that brought deputies to Morgenstern’s home on Saturday, authorities said. The video was created in Hayden, Idaho, at Triple Play Family Fun Park, said deputy prosecuting attorney Lech Radzimski.
Two men will spend at least 25 years in prison for killing a 63-year-old homeowner last July near Colville. Jesse J. Fellman-Shimmin, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder, and Eric L. Booth, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 63-year-old Gordon Feist during a botched robbery attempt, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.