Man sentenced for firing shotgun - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Man sentenced for firing shotgun

Single blast was fired over vehicle of United States Census worker

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Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A St. Maries man was found guilty last week of disturbing the peace for firing a shotgun over the head of a U.S. Census worker.

Richard Powell, 55, was ordered to spend five days in jail and pay $437.50 in fines and court costs as a result of the misdemeanor offense stemming from a March 3, 2010, incident.

Powell fired the shotgun as a way to chase Raymond Stanis from Powell's property. Stanis had tried to deliver Powell a United States Census questionnaire.

"Whether or not people are unhappy with the federal government, this type of conduct is way over the top," said Doug Payne, Benewah County prosecutor, "And I think that's what the jury thought."

Powell had originally been charged with exhibition or use of a deadly weapon, also a misdemeanor, but the charge was reduced to the lesser offense shortly before the Feb. 23 trial.

Payne said the reason for the lesser charge was to avoid confusing language in the Idaho statute regarding exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.

The exhibition or use of deadly weapon statute identifies people who use or draw any deadly weapon unnecessarily "in the presence of two or more persons."

Confusion on whether the two or more includes the alleged weapon user prevented the exhibition charge, Payne said.

Powell fired the shot over Stanis' car as Stanis was trying to leave Powell's property at 396 Powell Road just outside St. Maries.

Powell testified that he was in a hurry to visit his sick mother, Payne said, and that he was frustrated when Stanis wouldn't leave his property.

Powell told Stanis repeatedly to "leave now," and when Stanis told Powell he would leave the questionnaire outside, Powell entered his home and returned outside to fire the weapon about 15 feet over the worker's car, according to reports from the Benewah County Sheriff's Office.

"There was no reason for that, I was leaving," Stanis, a longtime Benewah County resident, told Powell according to sheriff's reports.

Powell then said he would wipe the smirk off Stanis' face, and that he meant business, according to sheriff's reports.

Payne said that regardless of the conversation, firing the shot was a violation.

"It doesn't matter what he said, he fired a gun," Payne said. "It is the definition of disturbing the peace in Idaho."

The daylong trial wrapped up after the jury deliberated for less than 15 minutes. Powell will begin serving his sentence March 11.

Powell did not return a message left by The Press seeking comment, and his attorney, David Lohman, did not have authority from his client Wednesday afternoon to speak about the case.

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  • Rogue Cop posted at 11:31 am on Sun, Mar 6, 2011.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2369

    Understood meanie. And I'm not suggesting that you would do what Powell did. You seem to be defending his actions and that's why I referred to him as "your buddy".

    The distinction I'm making is that defending your self or you property from "break ins" is a far cry from someone who is trespassing by walking up to your door to talk to you by knocking or ringing the bell. If there are signs, and dogs, and warnings then solicitors beware. But gun play has no place in trying to ward off or scare off a census worker.

  • meanie posted at 9:04 am on Sun, Mar 6, 2011.

    meanie Posts: 80

    Well dang it , you got me on that spelling thing. I am the worst. I am not a curb side lawyer. LOL I am aware of my rights. I am not going to argue with you. I would never do what Mr. Powell did nor is he my buddy. If you really are a cop , I thank you for your services, I wouldn't want your job, I find it hard and under paid. But I am aware of trespassing laws. I have done my part in making sure of my rights due to the break ins in this area I live. I am very rural and people seem to think it is ok to just come on to my property and walk up to my door , even with GSD's outside barking, signs posted, and a closed gate, they are either dumb or have a death wish. I wanted to protect myself to the fullest against these people that want to come into my yard. So I am aware. I would never be rude, or violent, unless needed to protect me and my family.

  • Rogue Cop posted at 8:47 pm on Sat, Mar 5, 2011.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2369

    Meanie, either you're aware of the law and misstated it or, you don't know what you're talking about and just think you do. First of all, it's "carte blanche", not "card blanch". That's my first clue that you DON'T have a clue about which you speak. You're just plain wrong, and saying that you've read the Constitution or that you understand the 4th Amendment will only get you in trouble. The 4th Amendment deals with reasonable searches and seizures and addresses SEARCH WARRANTS. It has nothing to do with trespassing.

    Curb side lawyers like you who THINK they know the law often end up paying real attorneys a lot of money to keep them out of jail but they end up spending time there your buddy Powell! Read the 4th Amendment. It has nothing to do with a census worker or cops for that matter walking onto your property.

  • meanie posted at 2:45 pm on Sat, Mar 5, 2011.

    meanie Posts: 80

    Rogue Cop, I am very aware of my law and constitutional rights go read your 4th amendment and then come talk to me. I hate it when local or government officials feel they have card blanch on my home and property. YOU Don't! I know my rights.

  • Rogue Cop posted at 8:25 pm on Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2369

    Meanie: You don't know the law so you're giving bad advice that might get someone hurt.

    Police can enter any property if they have probable cause to believe a crime is being committed, or in order to prevent injury or death (welfare checks), with or without an invite and even if the property is posted. Entering a building or structure is another issue. They can also enter property and a structure if they're in fresh pursuit. You don't get 'annie annie in come free' just because you have a no trespassing sign.

    Relative to the census worker or any other person, a property owner has the right to enforce 'no trespassing', but they don't have the right to use deadly force, or even threaten deadly force for misdemeanor trespassing. If an uninvited guest refuses to leave they can be placed under citizen's arrest. The PRUDENT thing to do is to call law enforcement and have the guy arrested.

    Census workers are engaged in legitimate gov't business and have a right to knock on your door. You don't have to talk to them and you can open your door and tell them to buz off if you want but you can't start shooting guns to frighten them. That's just stupid. You save that gift for someone who is trying to do you harm for petesakes.

  • meanie posted at 3:13 pm on Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

    meanie Posts: 80

    You are correct Triumph, No one can tresspass on your property if the 're signs posted. Even government officials , if you have a gated yard and the gate is closed with no tresspassing signs , the only way anyone can come on your property is by invitation only. If they enter without invite, they are tresspassing, so it is your right to ask them to leave. Not even local police departments can enter a gated property with no tresspassing signs unless the property owner has called them for help or asked them to come on the property. This is where probable cause has no case. Even if a neighbor calls for a check on the person living there, you must get permission, from either a relative of/ or the owner of the property. So Keep your gates closed and hang up your signs!!!

  • Triumph posted at 1:59 pm on Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

    Triumph Posts: 642

    Yep the federal govt does have the right to conduct a census. But NO they do NOT have the right to tresspass. The census worker who wouldnt leave the property was breaking the law.

  • Hardworker posted at 11:05 am on Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

    Hardworker Posts: 36

    JoeIdaho- exactly! At what point does the line get crossed when someone is on your property and you've asked them to leave and they continue to badger you. First this worker doesnt get paid enough to be put in a situation like that, and second, if someone has no tresspassing signs, or doesnt want you on THEIR property maybe door to door people need to back off.

    this guy clearly wasnt trying to harm the census worker, but give him the good ol' boy scare... bunch of bull it turned out this way. He needed a better attorney.

    Besides, what do you expect when you drive onto someone's property in st. maries?!! lol

  • The Truth posted at 8:51 am on Fri, Mar 4, 2011.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    @Joe: US Constitution, Art. 1, Sec 2 Clause 3 contains:

    The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

    So, to answer your question, yes, as law directs.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 5:16 pm on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    THE question is:
    DOES the government have the right to force a census document on you on your private property, and DOES the census worker have the RIGHT to pass no trespassing signs & stay when asked to leave?

    Hmmmm.......I guess that isn't important, huh?

  • ChessOwl posted at 9:16 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    ChessOwl Posts: 11

    The Truth be told ... There are MANY fine examples of responsible use of Second Amendment rights every day. The vast majority of such stories almost NEVER make the "mainstream" media; but they are there, you just need to look. On the other hand, stories that paint gun owners in a poor light, or the irresponsible use of firearms, get reported all the time.
    Consider this: In the United States, millions of families own firearms for personal defense in their homes and businesses. The vast majority of those gun owners are law-abiding citizens who simply want to protect themselves against murder, rape, robbery, carjacking and burglary.

  • idabilly posted at 6:42 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    idabilly Posts: 390

    ""Powell had originally been charged with exhibition or use of a deadly weapon, also a misdemeanor, but the charge was reduced to the lesser offense shortly before the Feb. 23 trial.""

    ""Payne said the reason for the lesser charge was to avoid confusing language in the Idaho statute regarding exhibition or use of a deadly weapon.""

    .....reduced because there was no way the locals would convict him of those charges. Another lawyer spinning it for the public.

  • The Truth posted at 6:15 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    Another responsible use of 2nd amendment rights by an obviously totally sane individual.

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