On the 9th of April in District Court in Pioche, I witnessed what I consider to be a grave miscarriage of justice during the arraignment of Edwin Stephenson II, the suspect charged with battering my grandson with a deadly weapon during a home invasion at Atlanta Farms on March 9 of this year. At first appearance in Justice Court, Stephenson was charged with Battery W/Deadly Weapon and Home Invasion, both Class B Felonies, and Domestic Violence, 2nd Offense, a misdemeanor.
It is my understanding Stephenson issued threats from jail to his children to tell their mom if she did not change her testimony, he would kill her when he got out. This info was brought to the attention of the D.A. who referred matter to LCSO. No mention of witness tampering was made at arraignment.
At arraignment, Stephenson was allowed to plead to simple assault – no mention of deadly weapon. In return for his guilty plea to greatly reduced charges, the DA dismissed the Home Invasion and DV 2nd Offense charges.
Stephenson testified he went to Atlanta Farms to pick up his children. I, myself, am glad that not all dads go to pick up their kids in the middle of the night wearing masks and gloves. He said he had problems with my grandson in the past and an altercation ensued. He was not required to admit striking his ex-wife or the fact my grandson came to her defense which resulted in his injury. He said he “swung” at my grandson and that he gave him reason to be in fear – no mention of the length of pipe he brought with him when he committed the Home Invasion. Wasn’t the blood evidence enough to substantiate charge of Battery W/Deadly Weapon. Evidently Stephenson will be eligible for probation.
D.A. HAS GIVEN A FREE PASS TO HOME INVADERS AND WOMAN ABUSERS.
Ironically, when the Judge asked if there would be restitution, the DA said yes. If there is a need for restitution, wouldn’t that indicate an injury was inflicted? Otherwise, there would be no need for restitution of ambulance and medical costs.
At the close of the proceeding, District Judge Fairman advised the DA that dismissing a DV 2nd Offense charge is prohibited by law. The DA submitted documents to the Judge in support of his failure to prove the charge, due to conflicting witness statements and was allowed to dismiss the charge.
I believe it is the DA’s obligation to bring charges, based on LCSO investigations and leave it up to a jury to hear testimony (even if it is conflicting) and render a verdict based on all testimony – not to dismiss charges based on his perceived ability to gain a conviction. Where do you draw the line between upholding the law and the DA’s lack of confidence in his abilities to present a case in court.
My hat is off to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and staff who are charged with policing these repeat offenders. I can only imagine their frustration when they put their lives on the line chasing suspects, putting in valuable time collecting witness statements and conducting investigation and charging suspects with appropriate violations of the law — only to have the D.A.’s Office discount their hard work and dedication by entering into plea agreements that poorly reflect the suspect’s acts and actions.
This plea agreement has deprived my grandson, the victim, of his right to testify against Stephenson and rendered him unable to obtain discovery documents which would, I believe, negate the D.A.’s “conflicting witness” scenario.