Former softball coach appears in court
July 10, 2009
A former Fallon softball coach, who was convicted of providing alcohol that was served at a party where a 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped, said on Thursday that she would like a lawyer before being sentenced on a suspected probation violation.
Tami Peel, 38, appeared in Tahoe Justice Court in Stateline on Thursday afternoon on allegations that she drank alcohol before arriving at jail on May 24 for a 45-day sentence.
The sentence stemmed from a April 20 conviction on five misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for providing the alcohol served at a party for her teenage daughter in January 2008. During that hearing, Peel also received five six-month suspended sentences that would run consecutively if she violated terms of her probation.
Following a Fallon judge’s recusal, Tahoe Justice Court Justice of the Peace Richard Glasson is presiding over Peel’s case.
The alleged rape at the 2008 party remains under investigation, said Senior Deputy Attorney General Ronda Clifton.
On Thursday, Peel – who is in custody and appeared without a lawyer – did not contest testimony from Churchill County Deputy Sheriff Jolie Roat that she was over the legal limit when she arrived at jail.
Recommended Stories For You
“I know I’m guilty of what I’ve done, I’m completely accountable for that,” Peel said at the hearing.
“I’ve got a problem and I need help,” Peel added.
Although it is unknown when the next hearing in the case will occur, several possible punishments were discussed at Thursday’s hearing.
Because of the suspended sentences Peel was given in April, Peel could face up to 2 1/2 years of confinement, Glasson said.
East Fork Justice Court Chief Probation Officer Douglas Swalm recommended a 135-day jail sentence for Peel’s probation violation. During the sentence, Peel should participate in a residential substance abuse treatment program and then be placed back on probation, Swalm said.
Clifton agreed in part, but recommended a harsher sentence.
“We want to get the defendant help, but we don’t think 135 days is enough,” Clifton said.
Clifton called for an additional six months of jail time be tacked onto Swalm’s recommendation.
Following a request from Peel for an attorney, Glasson did not make a decision regarding punishment for Peel’s probation violation and said he wasn’t sure when a hearing would be held.
Judge David Huff has questioned Peel’s eligibility for a public defender because she has hired attorneys during prior proceedings, but Glasson said he would work with Peel to get her a public defender out of Churchill County.
Peel said previous legal troubles have completely sapped her financial resources.
“That tapped me out financially,” Peel said. “I’m out of money, my savings are gone.”
How long it will take to get a public defender is unknown.
“I can’t honestly tell you when we can get back to this,” Glasson told Peel on Thursday.
Peel is expected to remain in custody in Churchill County until a date for the next hearing in the case is set.
– Lahontan Valley News Reporter Michael Maresh contributed to this story.