Golden sentenced at Law Day for drug possession

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WALLACE — In Wednesday’s Law Day at the Wallace Courthouse, Judge Scott Wayman addressed the criminal cases of close to 30 individuals. Much of the cases on the day’s docket involved crimes involving violent and/or drug related charges.

Among the drug-related cases brought before the judge was the sentencing of Brian Golden, 40, of Pinehurst, who received a concurrent five-year prison sentence (two years fixed, three years indeterminate).

Golden was arrested on/or around the night of Jan. 22, 2018, for two counts of possession of methamphetamine after Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office Deputies located “a baggie and/or baggies” of the illegal substance “in a night stand adjacent to his bed” at his home. Deputies also found a spoon on top of the night stand that tested positive for methamphetamine residue.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Allen stated that the case against Golden was charged via a criminal complaint and summons.

After pleading “not guilty” to both counts at his arraignment on May 9, a jury trial was conducted on Sept. 11, 2018.

At that jury trial, Allen and the state of Idaho sought the conviction after multiple items of drug paraphernalia that tested positive for methamphetamine were located in Golden’s basement bedroom, which he shared with his co-defendant. Golden was the second person charged as a result of that search and this co-defendant plead guilty shortly after her arrest.

Following the full day trial, the jury deliberated for more than 90 minutes before returning with a guilty verdict on both counts.

Golden has been waiting in the Shoshone County Jail for sentencing since the trial.

Appearing on Wednesday with his defense attorney, Erik Smith, the now four-time convicted felon plead his case for a more lenient punishment than what the prosecution had in mind.

The state, represented by Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Keisha Oxendine and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Allen, argued for the maximum penalty per charge of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Allen explained in an interview with the News-Press that their decision to push for the maximum sentence was motivated by a variety of factors.

“Utilizing a variety of factors to predict recidivism, the LSI (Level of Services Inventory) score for this defendant was a 39 placing him deep into the high risk category to reoffend,” he said. “According to my review of court records, Golden has had 24 prior misdemeanor convictions, 19 prior warrants and the present felony convictions now total four. In addition to the criminal convictions in the defendant’s history, law enforcement has received reports of numerous instances recently of individuals involved in drug activity being in and around the defendant’s home, being housed by the defendant as they were committing crimes and obtaining controlled substances directly from the defendant.”

Smith attempted to argue for a retained jurisdiction program (also known as a “rider” program) or probation for Golden by questioning the circumstance of his arrest and the presence of a supportive family that could help him if he wanted to get off drugs. Smith pushed for these options even though his client has expressed that he had no interest in getting treatment.

When it came time for Judge Wayman to hand down the sentence, he first laid out Golden’s positives and negatives.

“You have some positive things going for you,” he said to Golden. “You have kids who support you and love you, and you have family that’s here backing you up. Not everybody has that.”

“On the negative side,” he continued, “you have multiple misdemeanors. This is your third and fourth felony conviction. Along the road to age 40, you haven’t learned how to comply with the law. You have a long-standing substance abuse problem and there’s no hiding that. Along that way, that is what has gotten you into trouble and you haven’t been able to shake it.”

According to iCourt, Golden has a fairly lengthy criminal history in Shoshone County that includes several driving/licensing violations, drug offenses and an unlawful possession of a weapon charge.

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