Judge Shirley fines Colorado man; Burgman and Nichols confront addictions

Judge Shirley fines Colorado man;  Burgman and Nichols confront addictions

Judge Shirley fines Colorado man; Burgman and Nichols confront addictions

Several defendants passed through Judge Jim Shirley’s 11th Judicial courtroom on Monday. One came from Colorado to face charges stemming from an arrest at Burning Man last summer. Jenny Hubach defended Travis James Cusack on charges of trafficking in controlled substances, amphetamines.

The defendant had no prior criminal record.

Cusack pled guilty to two gross misdemeanor counts of possession. In exchange, the State dropped the trafficking charges.  

Deputy DA Jack Bullock explained that each of the gross misdemeanors could send Cusack to the Pershing County Jail for 364 days. Also, Cusack could be fined $2,000 for each count. Or, at the Judge’s discretion, he could serve probation.

Cusack exercised his right to speak to the Court before sentencing.

“I apologize,” he said. “I’ve turned into a different man since my arrest. I work hard and go to church with my mom. We have one glass of wine with our Sunday dinner, and that’s all.”

Before he sentenced Cusak, the Judge reminded him of the gravity of the original charges. If the State had proven that Cusak trafficked drugs in Nevada, he would have faced mandatory prison time. He could only avoid incarceration by giving substantial assistance to law enforcement in catching other traffickers.

Judge Jim Shirley sentenced the defendant to one day in the Pershing County Jail, suspended, and fined him $2,000 on each of the two counts.

James Horst Burgman wore jailhouse stripes. He admitted to violating the terms and conditions of his probation. 

Markus Heimbruch represented Parole and Probation. He described his client’s lengthy struggle with controlled substances. On a recent home check, the probation officer found Burgman unconscious and got him to a hospital.

Kyle Swanson defended Burgman. He argued for the defendant’s release from jail on his own recognizance (OR).

“He’s been incarcerated for one and a half months,” said Swanson. “He still has a construction job and is willing to test randomly. I believe he is sincere, wants treatment, and will follow through. How much are we going to punish him?”

Deputy DA Jack Bullock expressed concern that Burgman would relapse without more intense supervision than is available in Lovelock.

The Judge released Burgman from custody pending a hearing on Oct. 2. He must sign up for random drug testing. 

“If you test positive you go back in custody,” warned the Judge.

“I headed down a bad road and hurt people on the way,” said Travis Clayton Nichols, 27. “I’m glad what happened happened,” he added, referring to his May 26, 2017, arrest for three felony drug charges.

At his arraignment on Monday, Nichols pled guilty to possession of a C/S (methamphetamine) for sale. By pleading guilty he hopes to avoid the harsher penalties the State could impose if they proved the original charges.

Law enforcement found the drugs in the defendant’s vehicle. They also found a scale.

Swanson successfully argued for his client’s release from jail, noting that he had served 115 days.

“There is no indication that he is a flight risk,” said Swanson. “He’s learned his lesson.”

Nichols is also subject to random drug testing. The Judge repeated his warning that a positive test would result in jail time.

The Court sentences Nichols on Nov. 20.