ELKO – A misdemeanor charge against a former district attorney accused of shoving a reserve deputy in 2013 will be dropped if he keeps out of trouble for nine months.
Gary Woodbury entered a no contest plea Tuesday to a charge of breach of peace instead of fighting the accusations at trial, which was originally scheduled to take place that afternoon.
The attorney general’s office, which filed the charge against Woodbury in August of last year, agreed to dismiss the case so long as Woodbury has no new charges that result in convictions, other than minor traffic violations, through mid-October.
Michael Bongard, deputy attorney general, said after the hearing that the agreement will require Woodbury to behave for a short time in order for the criminal charge to be thrown out.
“It’s basically a deferred sentence,” Bongard said. “… At this point, I would rather have him on the hook and put the onus on Mr. Woodbury rather than us having the case sit and get stale for nine months.”
Bongard said he spoke with the sheriff’s office to ensure that law enforcement signed off on the plea deal.
Sherburne Macfarlan III, defense counsel for Woodbury, told the Elko Daily Free Press that both sides had been working on a plea deal for a while.
“The bottom line is he entered no contest as a means of resolving this matter,” Macfarlan said. “I’m sure all sides are happy to have this resolved without going to trial,”
Senior Judge Barbara Nethery scheduled a status hearing for Nov. 3. If the state drops the charges, the hearing will be removed from the calendar.
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“If the court does not receive the paperwork (that requests a dismissal), we will expect all parties to be present,” she said.
Woodbury served as Elko County District Attorney for 16 years before retiring from that post to work as a private practice attorney. He has continued to work for the county on a 15-year-old lawsuit regarding a road right-of-way in Jarbidge.
District Attorney Mark Torvinen, who worked with Woodbury as a deputy DA, forwarded the case to the attorney general’s office to avoid potential conflicts or the perception of conflicts.
During the 2013 Elko County Fair, Woodbury pushed a reserve deputy who was working at the event and cursed him with obscene language, according to court records.
Fair ground staff had asked officers to keep bleacher walkways clear. After two reserve deputies asked a group of people to move out of the way, Woodbury swore at the officer and refused to move, according to documents.
Woodbury then pushed Joshua Gallegos, one of the reserves, from behind, it states. When the officer asked Woodbury to leave, the former DA reportedly used more obscene language.
A sheriff’s detective later asked Woodbury if he had pushed Gallegos, to which Woodbury admitted that he had, court documents state.
Woodbury was never arrested in connection to the incident.
A person who commits battery on a person who “possesses some or all of the powers of a peace officer” can be charged with a gross misdemeanor under Nevada law.