Ex-deputy sentenced in DUI, domestic battery | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ex-deputy sentenced in DUI, domestic battery

A former Douglas County sheriff’s deputy who pleaded no contest to charges that he battered his wife and drove drunk was sentenced Monday to two six-month suspended sentences.

Senior Judge Edward Dannan, filling in for East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl, sentenced Jason Cypher to 15 days in jail on each charge, but gave him credit for time served.

Because Cypher served 35 days after his arrest Sept. 14, he will not have to serve additional jail time.

“I don’t have a whole lot to say,” Cypher said, fighting back tears. “I can’t go back and fix it. I owe a lot of people apologies, I negatively affected quite a few people.”

He said he wanted to apologize to the victim and her family.

“I’m not worried about myself,” he said. “It was probably the best thing for me to go to jail for a little while to get my life back on track.”

Cypher, 37, was arrested early Sept. 14 at Ironwood Drive and Highway 395 in Minden after a witness reportedly observed him striking his wife. A criminal complaint alleged he pulled her hair and punched her numerous times.

Cypher’s preliminary breath test for alcohol was .161, more than twice the legal limit for driving in Nevada, according to a Nevada Highway Patrol report.

The investigation and prosecution were turned over to Carson City to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest because Cypher was a Douglas County deputy when he was arrested.

He resigned Sept. 25 after 15 years with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim, who is in the process of divorcing Cypher, read a lengthy statement which she said detailed numerous instances of physical and psychological abuse.

The couple was married a year ago, but the victim said the alleged abuse began months earlier.

The woman, who works for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, claimed that Cypher read her e-mails, monitored her work calls and constantly accused her of infidelity.

“I will have scars from this for the rest of my life,” she said. “My fear is that Jason will do to someone else what he did to me.”

Her mother and stepfather also read statements.

Prosecutor Gerald Gardner, assistant Carson City district attorney, said the No. 1 concern was safety of the victim and her family.

“We need to protect her and her family from his need to control women through intimidation and violence,” Gardner said.

Cypher’s lawyer, Laurence Peter Digesti, said he was taken aback by the woman’s “character assassination” of his client.

“Ninety-five percent of this occurred before they were married. If their life was so bad, why in God’s good name did she marry him in November 2006?” Digesti asked.

Dannan lifted an order that Cypher stay out of Douglas County because the victim has a temporary protection order that he stay away from her.

Dannan said he didn’t want to interfere with Cypher’s ability to visit with his young daughter from a previous marriage.

Dannan ordered him to complete domestic violence counseling which he has begun and stay away from victim and her family.

He may not consume drugs or alcohol or possess a weapon.

Dannan released Cypher from house arrest and placed him on informal probation to make sure he completes counseling.

Dannan said in his 15 years on the bench, he’d sentenced law enforcement officers, lawyers, doctors, “people of all walks of life.”

“I see the effect these decisions to do what they did have had in their lives,” Dannan said. “People are people, we’re all human beings. We have lapses in judgment.”

He said Cypher lost his job, was unemployed and “saw his career go down the drain.”

Dannan said he had no reason to sentence Cypher differently than any other first-time offender.

But he warned Cypher if he violates terms of his release within two years, he faces jail.

He told the victim and her family he didn’t believe they had reason to fear Cypher.

“He is one of the most interested persons in turning his life around I have ever sentenced,” Dannan said.

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