District Court Hears Two Felony Cases Thursday

DISTRICT— Only two felony cases were heard in Custer County District Court on Thursday, July 1. The morning began with Derrick Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, 37 of Ord, appeared for his arraignment on alleged charges of Violation of Nebraska Certificate Title Act (Class IV Felony) and Willful Evasion of Sales Tax (Class IV Felony). During the arraignment, Gonzalez continually objected to the arraignment and also failed to answer any of Judge Karin Noakes’ questions.

Due to the failure to answer the questions and constant arguments, Judge Noakes made a judicial notice that Gonzalez was continually making illogical arguments and was failing to answer even the simplest of questions.

As Gonzalez did not waive his right to be served the paperwork regarding the charges at least 24 hours in advance, the case was continued. Judge Noakes also recused herself due to prior incidents with Gonzalez and the case was handed over to Judge Mark Kozisek. Gonzalez will now appear back in court on July 19 at 11 AM where he will be arraigned by Judge Kozisek.

Brice Carpenter, 26, appeared for a status hearing on Thursday afternoon as he faces alleged charges of Assault by a Confined Person (Class IIIA Felony) and being a Habitual Criminal (enhancement). During the hearing, Carpenter’s attorney Gary Peterson asked to withdraw as counsel due to miscommunication.

Carpenter told the court he felt that he was misled in the plea agreement and that Peterson did not have his best interests in mind. Peterson said that there may have been times when he forgot to tell Carpenter explicit details of the plea agreement such as he was giving up the right to a jury trial, which Carpenter stated is what he wants.

Custer County Attorney Steve Bowers, objected to the motion to withdraw and stated the everything had been read on the record in Custer County Court and Peterson had gone to great lengths to make sure all the details were communicated.

At the end of the arguments, Judge Noakes allowed Peterson to withdraw as counsel and appointed Michael Borders to represent Carpenter. He will appear back in District Court on August 5 at 9:30 AM for a status hearing.

Carpenter could be sentenced to 10-63 years in prison for the two charges if found guilty of both.