Court denies Weaver appeal

June 10, 2003 12:00 am

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A former Del Norte County jailer who sought to have his conviction for sexual misconduct reversed has lost his appeal.

According to court documents, former correctional officer Jim Weaver was not denied his rights on two issues raised by his attorney regarding his conviction in December 2001.

"Under the circumstances of this case, we are satisfied that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. The judgment is affirmed," the court document said of the judge's ruling.

Weaver was convicted for having sexual relations with a female inmate at Del Norte County jail while he worked there as an officer. The felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor by Judge Robert Weir in February 2002, just before Weaver served nine months in jail.

According to arguments presented by Weaver's attorney, Carolyn Fershtman of Sebastopol, Calif., Weaver was denied his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, because a tape recording of his statements were inlcuded as evidence at trial. Fershtman also argued some evidence was presented too late for Weaver's defense to address at trial.

Both arguments were denied by the appeals court.

During the investigation, Weaver was secretly tape-recorded during a conversation with the female inmate. That tape was used during the trial as a key piece of prosecution evidence. Weaver said very little in response to the woman as she talked about a sexual encounter they had. Prosecutors said his lack of denial to her claims was equal to an admission.

Weaver declined to comment until he heard details of the ruling. Fershtman did not immediately return messages left at her office yesterday.