Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Judge Elgee retains two keys sentences

Express Staff Writer

The attorneys for two Idaho prisoners who were convicted in 5th District Court in Hailey asked on Monday for their clients? prison terms to be adjusted.

In both cases, 5th District Judge Robert Elgee declined to entertain the motions.

?I?m coming in on the back end. I can?t sit here and say Judge May had the wrong sentence,? Elgee said regarding the case of convicted assailant Gail J. High, who was sentenced in March 2002 to five to 10 years in prison. High, a former Sun Valley Police Department employee, was convicted for taking a gun to the home of a Ketchum police officer after the officer cited her for DUI.

Her attorney argued that her mental health is significantly improved and that her crime was undoubtedly caused by mental instability.

But Elgee said he could not risk second-guessing another judge?s sentence based on a medical opinion that might not be 100 percent.

In the case of Stephen T. Snyder, who pled guilty to child custody interference in February, Elgee was similarly unwilling to budge.

?This is obviously a case where Judge May used his discretion wisely,? Elgee said.

The judge did, however, delete a $1,000 fine Snyder had been issued. Snyder still faces $7,000 in restitution costs.

Attorney Anita Moore explained her request for the deleted fine.

?Mr. Snyder is in prison, so his financial capabilities are very limited at this point,? she said.

Judge Elgee, a former Blaine County Magistrate Court judge, was appointed this spring to the 5th District bench when former 5th District Judge James May retired.

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