Federal Judge Convicts Kamiah Man of Assaulting Officers
COEUR D’ALENE—A federal magistrate judge in Coeur d’Alene convicted Robert Wesley Warden, 49, of Kamiah, Idaho, of five counts of assault for assaulting a Kamiah Marshal and two Nez Perce Tribal officers, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. The defendant elected to have the assault charges heard by the court without a jury.
During the trial, United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale heard evidence that on September 15, 2012, a distressed child called 911 and reported that a man was beating her mother. The child’s mother also spoke to the 911 dispatcher and reported that Warden had been physically assaulting her. The 911 dispatcher asked Nez Perce Tribal Police and a Kamiah Marshal to respond to the emergency.
Judge Dale heard evidence that the first person to arrive at the scene was a Kamiah Marshal. The Kamiah Marshal learned that Warden had fled the scene, and the Marshal stayed with mother and child while waiting for Nez Perce Tribal Police to arrive from another city. Before Nez Perce Tribal Police arrived, Warden returned to the residence. The Kamiah Marshal met Warden outside and told him he was being detained until the arrival of the Nez Perce Tribal Police. The defendant refused to cooperate and tried to pass the Kamiah Marshal, heading towards the woman and her child. The trial evidence showed that a struggle ensued when the Kamiah Marshal attempted to handcuff Warden. During that struggle Warden tried to bite the Kamiah Marshal.
Nez Perce Tribal Police arrived shortly after the struggle between Warden and the Kamiah Marshal ended. They arrested Warden and placed him in a patrol car. The trial evidence showed that Warden started kicking the inside of the patrol car. When Nez Perce Tribal Police officers went to restrain Warden, he attempted to kick one and bite another. He also spit on both officers. Because of this conduct, Warden was charged by federal indictment with five counts of assault.
“Law enforcement officers who respond to 911 calls for assistance often face emotionally charged and dangerous situations,” said Olson. “This office will not tolerate assaults on these officers who undertake their sworn duty to protect the public. Within Indian Reservations, where determining which agency has jurisdiction is often a difficult question, all persons have an obligation to comply with a law enforcement officer’s commands in the line of duty. I commend the witness officers involved in this case.”
The court found the defendant’s allegation of lack of jurisdiction by Officer Taylor of the Kamiah Marshals Office was not a defense to the assault and that Officer Taylor was reasonably there in response to a 911 call.
Each assault conviction is punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months, a fine of not more than $5000, and a special assessment of $10.
Warden is set for sentencing on August 19, 2014, before Judge Dale at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.
The case was investigated by the Kamiah Marshals, Nez Perce Tribal Police, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.