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Defendant pleads guilty before jury trial

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | April 26, 2021 1:48 PM

WALLACE — A sudden change of heart effectively canceled a scheduled jury trial on Friday morning in the case of Jessica Bauer.

Bauer, who also has gone by the name Jessica Black, was arrested on July 23, 2020, on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use.

Bauer had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge, which prompted the scheduling of a jury trial.

The defendant (Bauer) arrived at the courthouse just prior to 9 a.m. and indicated that she desired to change her plea in the case and plead guilty as charged.

Because of the defendant’s plea, the jury was no longer needed and was promptly sent home, despite having completed their pre-trial notifications and instructions.

Shoshone County’s Chief Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Allen, while appreciative of Bauer accepting responsibility for her actions, was also apologetic toward the citizens who went through the rigamarole that accompanies being a part of a jury.

He expressed frustration concerning the ordeal, including that of the Prosecutor's Office itself, but also extended his thanks to those jurors who had readied themselves for Friday morning’s proceedings.

“The Prosecutor’s Office extends its gratitude to the jury for its patience this morning, but ultimately wishes the defendant would have appeared to accept responsibility before a jury summons was necessary and the state expended its resources preparing for trial,” Allen said.

Bauer will now be scheduled for a sentencing proceeding on May 13 and each party will be free to recommend up to the maximum sentence authorized by law, which could be up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.