Seven-time repeat offender ‘thorn in the side’ of police
A Nevada City man convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for attacking his ex-girlfriend with kitchen knives is serving a year in a residential treatment program for violating his probation for the seventh time.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tamietti sentenced Scott E. Thomas, 34, to a year at the Salvation Army drug abuse treatment facility in Healdsburg, Calif., earlier this month.
The decision has frustrated law enforcement officials: Grass Valley police have arrested him nine times within the last seven years for a variety of offenses including domestic violence and drug possession, according to court and police records.
But others argue a residential treatment program ” help which Thomas has not received in the past ” offers more hope for changing Thomas’ behavior than prison.
Grass Valley Police Capt. Dave Remillard said Thomas has not responded to probation in the past and should go to prison.
“We’re constantly dealing with these repeat offenders,” Remillard said. “This guy has been a thorn in our side for a long time.”
Local judges are too lenient with people like Thomas, he said.
“Everyone deserves a second chance, and no one’s a lost cause,” Remillard said. “But how many chances do we need to give these people?”
But prison doesn’t address the underlying drug and alcohol problems that cause criminal behavior ” and only makes them worse, said Gregory Klein, a lawyer who represents many criminal defendants at the Nevada County courthouse.
“I don’t think (prison) does anything for the defendant,” said the Nevada City lawyer, who represented Thomas in an earlier phase of the case.
“It’s a humanity issue,” Klein said. “When you send someone to prison, you’re telling them, essentially, ‘You’re human garbage.’ I think Judge (Tamietti) believes (Thomas) is a savable human.”
For more on this story, check Tuesday’s edition of The Union.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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