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Judicial candidate’s contempt charge dismissed in Pahrump

A Pahrump justice of the peace candidate is moving along with his candidacy after being cleared of criminal charges this week.

On Wednesday, Pahrump Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson closed out and subsequently dismissed Richard Francis Hamilton’s contempt of court charge.

Hamilton, 60, who was initially taken into custody on Feb. 12, made his initial court appearance before Jasperson on Feb. 26.

Hamilton’s arrest order was related to a civil property hearing, issued by Jasperson, where the defendant allegedly refused to allow a former tenant, identified as Diane Lake, to retrieve her property from Hamilton’s home after moving out.

Calm, collected testimony

During Hamilton’s hearing on Wednesday, March 21, there was no awkward silence displayed by defense attorney David Neely III, unlike a previous court appearance on Feb. 26, when Neely was at a total and complete loss for words after Jasperson stood by his contempt of court ruling against Hamilton.

At the time, Neely asked the case to be dismissed, but Jasperson gave Lake one more opportunity to retrieve the remainder of her belongings.

Bearing witness

Neely testified that both he and Justice Court Bailiff Gerald “Bear” Smith actually visited Hamilton’s home to witness the retrieval of Lake’s belongings.

It was noted in court that Lake enlisted the assistance of a male individual to assist in moving all of the items out of the home.

“Bear was there and I was there,” Neely said. “She, (Lake), spent about four and a half hours moving her stuff. She got a majority of her stuff out of the house, but she did not remove these two huge chairs in the living room. She had to come back.”

Though it took several hours to move some of the belongings, Neely said, the task was still not complete.

“They had like a Mayflower moving truck in his backyard and I went out there and looked at it, and it was just full, and the trailer that they had initially brought was full,” Neely told Jasperson. “They asked us to let them come back the next day where they will bring some more guys and a truck.”

No-shows/case dismissed

Neely went on to say, in part, that on the following day, Lake and her moving detail were both “no-shows.”

“The sad part about it is that she did not get all of her stuff,” he said. “Bear thinks she got about 50 percent of her stuff, but I’m thinking she only got maybe 30 to 35 percent. She did not get anywhere close to getting all of her stuff out.”

After further discussions, Jasperson decided that he had heard enough from Neely to make a ruling on the contempt case.

“It sounds to me that after everything that has transpired in this matter, Mr. Hamilton fulfilled his obligations in an attempt to return her property to her,” Jasperson said. “If she chose not to go back up there and get it, it’s on her, it’s not on him anymore. That’s pretty much that.”

Jasperson also acknowledged Hamilton’s time spent behind bars last month for the original contempt charge.

“I am willing to give him credit for time served and close this whole matter out,” he said.

Following the hearing, Hamilton said he felt reassured that the whole matter is now behind him.

“I feel very relieved now, but I was very nervous coming in here this morning,” he said. “I spent 17 days in jail and for what? What was the crime? Contempt of what? All along, I have stated that from December through now she had the opportunity to come and get her stuff. I just wanted her to do it correctly. I don’t want any problems with her anymore.”

Back to work

Additionally, Hamilton said he can now focus on his run for justice of the peace come the November midterm election.

“My campaign is going fine now that this is all over with,” he said. “I don’t have any kind of meet-and-greets schedule just yet, but I’m working with some people to set a few up. I just want to be out there getting my message out to the people.”

Part of Hamilton’s message, he said, was finding a method to somehow streamline the justice court system.

“I don’t want to see so many petty crimes tying up these courtrooms like traffic citations with the elderly,” he said. “A lot of this stuff is just a waste of resources.”

Using his experience as a “guest” at the Nye County Detention Center, Hamilton also had thoughts on what to do with incarcerated inmates.

“There’s a lot of guys in detention that need to be out doing community service or something because we’re just feeding them and they are having a party down there,” he said.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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