“Staggering Neglegence” by Calhoun State Police

Thanks to Bob Weaver for his excellent reporting!!!!


By Bob Weaver

A motion to dismiss a number of drug charges against John M. Richards will be heard by Judge David Nibert.

Richards is facing multiple counts related to the alleged operation of a meth lab in south Grantsville. He had been scheduled to go to trial this month.

Richards’ attorney, Robert C. Catlett, has requested the dismissal after State Police in Grantsville say they lost evidence taken from the Richards residence.

Catlett is asking the state to dismiss with prejudice (cannot be re-filed) or in the alternative to disallow any mention of these items at trial.

Richards’ attorney cites a letter from former detachment commander Sgt. C. J. Ellyson, stating he discarded the alleged meth lab materials from a garage located in the barracks, indicating they were not properly secured by Sgt. Darrin Campbell.

Catlett’s motion further claims proper police procedures were not followed, including the obtaining of chain-of-custody receipts.

Catlett further claims the desire to examine and possibly have tested the evidence, but the court did not grant the opportunity until December, 2006. It was then the Grantsville State Police advised prosecutor Matt Minney that the evidence had been disposed of.

Sgt. Darrin Campbell, in a press statement following Richards’ arrest, told the Hur Herald a field test was positive for the presence of meth, while officers did a search of the property.

Catlett’s motion says “Staggering negligence is the conclusion most charitable to the state…There is no claim that the evidence was destroyed during testing, as there was no testing done.”

Catlett was critical of the Grantsville State Police, saying before a December 19, 2006 hearing, an officer testified that to the best of his knowledge these items were in his possession, when they had “been in a garbage dump for three months.”

The motion says there is “a much darker picture than mere negligence,” indicting “a shocking failure to preserve the evidence” or that the evidence ever made it to the detachment.

Much like the Kelley Mace meth case a few years ago, there was no analysis of an illegal drug, nor was the illegal drug ever presented.

Cpl. Doug Starcher testified numerous times during the Mace case that State Police had an illegal substance (meth) in their possession, taken from her residence using a search warrant.

The case was eventually dropped, when Starcher could not produce the evidence.

A State Police internal investigation and a criminal investigation of Starcher’s sworn statements, indicating perjury, produced no repercussions for the officer.

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 3:36 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey we all heard they got the CAL PATTY PRIZE for that one! Click the Cal Patty link on Meth Ranger or CCC!
    Cal Patties are flying now!!

  2. I just wonder if there is some evidence, audio/video evidence that has not been revealed YET which will clearly prove two individuals conspired to mislead the Court in regards to the under oath statement: “To the best of my knowledge.”

    Yes, I am just wondering if there is such audio/video evidence which clearly shows the under oath statement was coached and the actual “knowledge” was to the contrary.

    We’ll soon hear and see!!!!!!

  3. 1. I don’t recall.

    2. To the best of my knowledge.

    These two statements sound like statements that you would hear a G.S. make while “Testi-Lying” in Court.

    It’s called the “Fine Art Of “Testi-Lying”

  4. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

    They sound just like politicians to me…

    Get out your hip waders, flood’s comin’ in.

  5. Get out the tar and feathers.

  6. There seems to be a pattern forming in the way certain cases are handled. It would seem to the observer that the goal is not so much to convict and imprison so-called “offenders”, as it is to simply make people’s lives miserable for as long as possible, and create a lot of bad feelings. Punishment without a guilty verdict, which can go on for years… If all these “offenders” were actually really criminals, or a huge threat to the population, they would be behind bars. But they would rather collect your money and make your life a living hell.
    Perhaps too simplistic, but what ever happened to the days when if someone had a problem with you, they came to you and talked to you about it before bringing out the big guns? Simple communication could eliminate much of this unnecessary “official” legal/illegal activity and would make the police look much better.

    Imagine this. We are in Mayberry and sheriff Taylor has a report that an individual may be doing something illegal. So he gets in his squad car and drives to the person’s home and they talk about it. All cards are laid on the table. The sheriff behaves like a straightforeward and honest adult. His main goal is NOT to arrest somebody, but to give the “offender” a chance to make things right. Then if there is any more trouble, it is delt with in a manner befitting the extent of the trouble. Or is this far too dificult a concept to grasp? Are the “officials” all children and bullies here, or are they human adults? So far their actions remind one of insecure and immature delinquents who are simply looking to gang up for a fight. They don’t care if they actually have any right to be doing whatever they are doing. They don’t care what the real circumstances might be, or the end result, they only want the fight. I’m tellin’ you, it’s mental illness….

  7. “the goal is not so much to convict and imprison so-called “offenders”, as it is to simply make people’s lives miserable for as long as possible, and create a lot of bad feelings. Punishment without a guilty verdict, which can go on for years… If all these “offenders” were actually really criminals, or a huge threat to the population, they would be behind bars.”

    This is SO TRUE! I have seen it time and time again!
    Especially in Crooked County! Even the regular town folk are afraid of retaliation if they say anything, or act or even think about speaking out.

    Being just down the Crooked River and surrounded by Crooked County, Calhoun County has many of the same problems!

    There is a reason individuals make the list of Crooked County Crooks! It can be proven what they have done to make the list is so incredibly bad… that it is almost unbelievable!

    You hit on the head with the “feeling of suspended and prolonged time of agony,” it almost evil…the ominous Crooked Crooks that live next to the Crooked River!

    Even Jamtart is afraid to visit his grandchildren in Calhoun County! At least until things get better.

    Message to Jamtart… “happy birthday, even though it’s late and I hope you got your projects done!

    Sorry I’m so hard to get a hold of, but I’ve been hiding out when I’m not working or trying to further myself.

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