JASPER SMITH OLSON P.C.
St. Regis Fire settles dispute with MHP; charges against firefighter dropped
The meeting between the Highway Patrol and St. Regis fire officials resulted in a "productive and respectful discussion," according to attorney Lance Jasper, who was on hand representing a volunteer member of St. Regis fire. Both agencies agreed to cooperate to ensure that public safety is their highest priority, the attorney said.
"Both entities wish to ensure the public that they will respond when called and will work together to preserve the safety and security of the public," Jasper said. (click here for full article)
Missoula teen gets 4 months in jail for fatal punching at party
A Missoula man who delivered a fatal punch at a house party was sentenced Tuesday to six years in the Montana State Prison, with all but four months of the term suspended.
Shane Richard Rummel, 20, pleaded guilty last November in the negligent homicide death of 22-year-old Seth William Horn of Great Falls. (click here for full article).
Ex-husband gets 55 years for killing Superior woman
Judge Karen Townsend accepted an unusual plea agreement in which a remorseful Woodard entered a guilty plea at his initial appearance in August. He agreed to the 55-year prison sentence for an offense that carries a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 100.
Mineral County Attorney Marcia Boris and defense attorney Lance Jasper hammered out the agreement after outlining the investigation results to two independent attorneys and a judge for their input. The opposing sides worked together in large part to prevent a wrenching trial that could have torn apart this small western Montana town.
"I think in this case we've actually done something unique and hopefully helpful to Kelly Jo's family, the Woodards and the community in coming to this agreement," said Jasper, Woodard's attorney. (click here for full article).
Superior: Woodard pleads guilty to ex-wife's murder
Michael Woodard quietly pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide Wednesday morning for killing his ex-wife in May.
The plea in Mineral County District Court came after prosecutor Marcia Boris and Woodard's attorney, Lance Jasper of Superior, hammered out an unusual agreement before the long-awaited initial appearance to keep the case from going to what promised to be a gut-wrenching trial. (click here for full article).
GETTING AHEAD: Sunday June 26
Missoula attorney Cynthia K. Smith was selected as a 2011 Montain States Super Lawyer. The super lawyer designation is based upon peer recognition and professional achievement. Only 5 percent of Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming attorneys are chosen for this list each year. Smith practices with the firm of Jasper Smith Olson P.C. Her practice focuses on personal injury, employment and insurance cases. Smith is also the immediate past president of the State Bar of Montana. (click here for full article).
Charlo woman sentenced for embezzling $677K from Polson credit union
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy sentenced Sammons to 30 days in prison on embezzlement and money laundering charges. Molloy also ordered her to pay $676, 872 in restitution, and set a supervised release term of five years, with 17 months' home confinement. (click here for full article).
GETTING AHEAD: Sunday, August 15
Missoula lawyer Cynthia K. "Cindy" Smith has received an A-V rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a legal publication that obtains ratings from attorneys' peers. Smith is a partner at Jasper Smith Olson, P.C., and her practice emphasizes on personal injury, insurance and employment law. Smith is also the current president of the State Bar of Montana. (click here for full article).
Now sober, Missoula man gets deferred sentence for drunken kidnapping attempt
A Missoula judge agreed Thursday to a deferred sentence in the case of David W. Larsen, the 61-year-old Missoula man arrested last summer for attempted kidnapping.
Earlier this year, Larsen pleaded no contest to a lesser felony charge of criminal endangerment, and to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol. (click here for full article).
Fatal stabbing in Ronan leads to suspended sentence
POLSON - His attorney called the deliberate homicide charge a "dream case," and one he would dearly have loved to take before a jury.
But Allen Metzger opted to plead "no contest" to a lesser charge of negligent homicide, and Monday was given a four-year suspended sentence for the August 2009 stabbing death of his one-time friend, James Finch, in a Ronan bar. (click here for full article).
Man changes plea to 'no contest' in fatal Ronan bar stabbing
POLSON - Originally charged with deliberate homicide, Allen Metzger on Monday changed his plea from "not guilty" to "no contest" to a reduced charge of negligent homicide in an agreement with prosecutors that would have him serve no further jail time for the stabbing death of a Ronan man.
Metzger has maintained he acted in self-defense in the Aug. 16, 2009, slaying of James Finch in the men's room of a Ronan bar.
He spent 100 days in the Lake County Detention Center before his bail was reduced to $25,000 last December, and bond was posted. (click here for full article).
Missoula man gets prison time for fleeing Reserve Street crash that killed cyclist
A Missoula man who sped away in his pickup truck after hitting and killing a pedestrian last June was given a 10-year prison sentence on Thursday, with seven years of the term suspended. (click here for full article).
Missoula police agree to settle Peschel case for $365,000
The Missoula Police Department has agreed to pay $365,000 to settle a lawsuit with a retired physician who says his rights were violated during an August 2007 confrontation with law enforcement.
Attorneys in the case began negotiating a resolution to the case shortly before it was scheduled for trial in November. Those discussions were prompted by a federal magistrate's pretrial rulings, which included a sanction against the police department for losing a video recording of the arrest. (click here for full article).
New self-defense law may come into play in fatal Ronan stabbing
POLSON - Will someone accused of murder have their bail set at $25,000?
That's what attorney Lance Jasper wants for his client, Allen Metzger, who is charged with deliberate homicide in the Aug. 16 stabbing death of James Finch at a Ronan bar.
Metzger says the killing in the Valley Club men's room was done in self-defense. Jasper says a new law enacted by the last Montana Legislature and signed by Gov.
Brian Schweitzer changes the rules in cases where the accused claims self-defense.
Instead of Metzger having to prove he acted to protect himself from death or serious injury, Jasper says, "the burden has shifted to the state" to prove he did not.
"Shifting the burden to the state in this manner demonstrates a change in Montana law, which recognizes the importance of being allowed to defend oneself without subsequently being faced with unreasonable consequences," Jasper wrote in a motion for bail reduction filed in District Court. (click here for full article).
Missoula man sentenced for attack over beer pong game
A 24-year-old Missoula man who stabbed a University of Montana student at a house party last September was sentenced Thursday to 15 years on probation and 30 days in jail. He also endured sharp rebukes from the victim's family members, who gave emotional testimony at the court hearing. (click here for full article).
Molloy gives man probation for running steroid ring
Jimmy Ray Jones isn't going to federal prison for selling steroids.
Jones, 61, faced about three years in prison for running an international steroid ring, but a federal judge on Thursday instead put him on probation for five years, with a short period of home arrest. (click here for full article).
On probation: Man accused of shooting another in back won't serve prison time
Trevion Maurice Jones, who was accused of shooting a man in the back last year, won't set foot in the Montana State Prison - but he will have the law lurking over his shoulder for the next 15 years.
Under a sentence imposed Tuesday by District Judge Dusty Deschamps, Jones will remain on probation until 2022, with the understanding that any slip-ups could land him in the Deer Lodge prison to finish out his term. (click here for full article).
Man awarded $400,000 in wrongful discharge case
A Missoula man was awarded nearly $400,000 last week in a wrongful discharge case brought against his former employer, United Parcel Service of America.
The award is among the largest in the history of Montana's unique Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act, which allows employees to seek compensation for lost wages if they are fired unfairly.
Daniel Dean worked for UPS for 24 years. He regularly put in long hours and was eventually promoted to a management position at the company's Missoula hub, said Lance Jasper, who represented Dean with lead counsel David Paoli of Paoli, Latino & Kutzman P.C.
"He bled UPS," Jasper said. "He bled brown." (click here for full article).
Jury acquits Superior stabbing defendant
As jurors filed into an emotionally divided courtroom Tuesday night, their not-guilty verdict in a Superior deliberate homicide trial unleashed equal parts mass agony and muted approval.
As Missoula District Judge John Larson read the unanimous verdict, not a moment of reprieve could separate his last syllable from yowls of disdain.
Joslin, 18, walked away from the building a free man. (click here for full article).