Probation arrests reflect Nevada County court ‘revolving door’
April 15, 2014
Narcotics detectives conducting a probation search Wednesday morning ended up arresting five people — one of whom had failed to appear in court on five separate occasions over the last year regarding two misdemeanor cases, getting arrested on bench warrants and bailing out each time.
Members of the Nevada County Sheriff's Narcotics Task Force were conducting the search at the Auburn Road residence of Joshua Paulin, who was wanted on several outstanding warrants, said Deputy Mark Hollitz.
Paulin fled out the back of the residence when he spotted the deputies but was apprehended after a short foot pursuit, Hollitz said.
Four other people at the residence also were taken into custody.
Valerie Ann Slaven was arrested on two outstanding no-bail warrants after she failed to make a court appearance. Erin Kirkham was taken into custody on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and violating probation and was being held without bail.
Robert Forbes was arrested on suspicion of violating parole, as well as obstructing justice. According to Hollitz, Forbes refused to take a drug test and then tried to spit water into a sample cup and pass it off as his urine.
David Carson reportedly was arrested on suspicion of violating parole after he tested positive for narcotics.
Their bail amounts were not immediately available.
While several of the visitors to the residence had outstanding warrants, Paulin stood out for the sheer number of times he has taken advantage of the "revolving door" afforded by low bail amounts set for his repeated failures to appear in Nevada County Superior Court.
Paulin was charged in February 2013 with trespassing and being under the influence of a controlled substance. He initially pleaded not guilty, then failed to appear for a felony conference on April 29, 2013. A $2,500 warrant was issued and he was arrested on the warrant in June 2013.
He subsequently posted bail, but failed to appear for his very next court date on July 23, 2013. A new warrant was issued for $10,000.
He was picked up on that warrant in November 2013 and posted bail. A motion to exonerate the bail was filed in December, and there was no opposition, according to court records.
Paulin was arrested for another misdemeanor in June 2013 on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia and burglary tools. He failed to appear for his arraignment on Aug. 5, 2013, and a bench warrant was issued for $5,000. That misdemeanor case was eventually bundled with the prior complaint and he was set to appear on both cases in February.
Paulin pulled another no-show in court on Feb. 5; a bench warrant was issued for $2,500 and he was arrested on that warrant March 21. He posted bail and again failed to appear in court on March 25. A new warrant was issued, this time for $15,000.
During this time, Paulin was arrested a third time — on felony drug charges — just two days after he failed to appear in court.
On Feb. 7, narcotics task force members served a search warrant in Cascade Shores and arrested Paulin, 36, on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance. He posted $11,000 bail and was arraigned Feb. 25; he was set to enter a plea today.
After his latest arrest Wednesday, Paulin remained in custody in lieu of $30,750 bail on two warrants and a new charge of resisting arrest, according to jail staff.
Bail is set to ensure a defendant's return to court and to ensure public safety, but a defendant is required to only post 10 percent of the bail amount. In misdemeanor cases, which typically are low-level, nonviolent crimes, those bail amounts are low.
Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell said a deputy district attorney can ask for a higher bail amount if there is a history of failing to appear for court dates, but granting that request is up to the judge.
A no-bail warrant would typically not be issued unless there were felony charges, there is a violent crime or aggravating circumstances, Newell said.
"It's frustrating, especially with low-level drug offenders," he said.
"They will rack up several cases before we can request increased bail."
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call (530) 477-4229.
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