Boyd pleas to three charges

by C.F. David

Appearing before Associate District Judge Gerald H. Riffe, of Beaver, James Boyd, Jr. made a blind plea to three charges of embezzlement. The charges are derived from eight charges of larceny of livestock and one of conspiracy going back to December 2005 through March of 2006. Boyd is accused of having taken and sold livestock from Cimarron County rancher Jim Ferguson, an individual for whom Boyd was working.

The blind plea came with a defense recommendation of a pre-sentencing investigation. Boyd also waives his right to a jury trail and will take his punishment from the judge with three separate pleas of guilty.

Riffe explained to Boyd that a blind plea meant that he as judge would listen to, and had a choice of, accepting the sentencing recommendation of either the defense or prosecution, or could choose his [Riffe's] own punishment.

Boyd on advice from his attorney Creig Rittenhouse waived a preliminary hearing. Riffe then explained to Boyd what a preliminary hearing was and asked again if he waived, Boyd answered, “Yes sir.”

Riffe then asked Boyd if he had been threatened or coerced in his decision.

Boyd answered, “No”.

Boyd then waived his right to a second judge.

The state, in the form of Assistant D.A. Jim Swartz then waived a preliminary hearing and a second judge.

Riffe then explained that with three pleas of guilty, Boyd faces a possibility of 15 years of prison and fines totaling $30 thousand, plus reimbursement of loss to Ferguson less the $1,200 paid by Matt Robinson in his plea to the same crimes.

Riffe then read the charges that on or about Dec. 26, 2005 , Boyd had sold a black bull belonging to Ferguson for $1,900; on Feb. 21, 2006 he then sold six calves for $1,450.36; and on March 1, eight more for $2,436.60.

Riffe then made the point that all of the cattle though being owned by Ferguson were under the care and control of Boyd due to his employment by Ferguson .

The judge then queried about the charges of embezzlement, and asked if Boyd had had the right to sell the cattle if Ferguson had received the money. Swartz said, “No.”

Riffe then questioned why the charges were embezzlement instead of larceny.

“But he did have actual physical possession,” Rittenhouse insisted.

“But he didn't have the right to sell them,” Swartz said.

Riffe then quizzed each attorney to be sure they both agreed to the pleas, satisfied he addressed Boyd.

“I'm going to allow this to go through. It becomes unappealable,” (since prosecution and defense agreed). Riffe said.

Riffe then set a date of April 4 at 10 a.m. , telling the attorneys that in the pre-sentencing investigation he wanted a five year history especially with any reference to embezzlement in either Cimarron or Texas Counties .

With that he dismissed the initial eight counts of larceny and conspiracy.