As expected, a visiting senior judge Thursday dismissed a misdemeanor charge of injury to property against Rick Marshall, a candidate for Nye County sheriff.
Judge Joe Maslich accepted a plea agreement between Marshall and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. The county’s current assistant sheriff agreed to pay a $250 fine, $250 in restitution and perform 40 hours of community service.
Marshall’s attorney, Josh Tomsheck, told the judge that Marshall had already complied with the terms of the agreement, paying the $500 and performing more than 40 hours of community service between July 31 and Sept. 4 at the Pahrump Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program.
Marshall was arrested April 22 alongside a longtime sheriff’s office volunteer, Ben Gulley, when they were caught removing $9.39 worth of campaign signs belonging to Citizens to Elect an Ethical Nye County Sheriff, a political action committee organized around keeping Marshall from ascending to sheriff.
The group’s “Anybody But Rick” campaign has become a divisive lightning rod, not only in the race for sheriff but also between top NCSO brass and a group of street-level deputies, led by the president of the local police union, David Boruchowitz.
Marshall said after the hearing that he was glad to put the whole episode behind him and get back to work campaigning to become the county’s next sheriff. His opponent in November is district attorney’s office investigator Sharon Wehrly.
“I have said all along that I believe in responsibility and accountability for our acts; I take responsibility for the injury to other property. Those would be the signs that were allegedly injured. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I think no crime was ever committed, I believe the Pahrump Valley Times said it perfect when they said it was a political stunt organized by Mr. Boruchowitz, I believe that’s what it was. And talking with my attorney and talking with my family and friends, I believe that this was a good resolution,” he said.
Steven Lee, president of the political action group opposed to Marshall’s candidacy, said he was satisfied with the outcome of Thursday’s proceedings.
“The point is that something was done about it. I’m happy the AG’s office took the lead on it. I feel more confident that he was held accountable for what he did. Even though he committed a crime, he was given certain things to do and it was dismissed. I felt fine with it. I wasn’t bent out of shape about it,” he said after the hearing.
Lee reiterated sentiments he expressed in earlier news accounts, mainly that he had nothing personal against Marshall, but felt the sheriff’s office was consistently mismanaged under Marshall and Sheriff Tony DeMeo’s leadership. He said he thinks the department could use fresh leadership, however, he stopped short of endorsing Wehrly.
He said since the April arrests, his campaign signs — he alleged 40 signs went missing before Marshall and Gulley were caught — have remained in place. Asked how he felt about Gulley not facing any charges for his role in the matter, Lee said he felt the volunteer should have been punished.
“I was disappointed in that. The explanation I got was that he was instructed by Rick to do all this. But Rick basically absorbed all this for him,” Lee said.
Gulley has said he is considering filing a lawsuit over his arrest.
He and Marshall were being watched by Lee, who was videotaping them when they started taking his signs and placing them in the vehicle they were in. Lee called a deputy, who asked for assistance when he pulled Marshall and Gulley over. A flurry of police squad cars and detectives showed up to the scene. Gulley said he even saw some of the deputies pull their weapons in what amounted to a felony traffic stop. Gulley said he saw Marshall get “roughed up” while being taken into custody as well.
The arresting officers claimed Marshall resisted arrest, later charging him with as much. In fact, originally, Marshall and Gulley were facing felony charges. The district attorney’s office quickly booted the case, however, to the attorney general to avoid any appearance of a conflict.
DeMeo says he agrees the arrests were orchestrated to embarrass Marshall. He says the participating deputies not only waited until he was out of the country to make their move on Marshall, they failed to follow internal policies, consult with the chain of command, or even follow the law as it applies to misdemeanor crimes.
Marshall noted Thursday that the day before he was arrested, a bank was robbed at gunpoint and only about four squad cars responded. He said twice that many deputies responded the following day when he and Gulley were arrested.
Lee agreed that his campaign has taken some twists and turns he had not expected. Since April, he said, he and his supporters have mostly taken a break. Now that this chapter is closed, he said, the PAC will resume its mission to keep Marshall from being elected sheriff.