Pondera County Sheriff Carl Suta (MTN News archive photo of earlier court appearance)
Pondera County Sheriff Carl Suta will not accept a plea agreement in an assault case that is pending in Pondera County Court.
Last week, Carl Suta's lawyer filed a notice to withdraw the plea agreement, which stated Suta would plead no contest to the charge of partner/family member assault.
Now, Suta does not intend to follow through with the terms of the agreement.
According to court documents, the victim told investigators that Suta had kicked him while he was "curled up on the ground."
Suta admitted kicking the victim in the case.
His lawyer has requested a scheduling conference to set deadlines and a new trial date.
If Suta had accepted the plea agreement, his sentence would have been deferred for one year and he would have had to spend either 24 hours in jail or three days under house arrest.
He would have also have had to agreed to pay a fine of $1,000 and complete 40 hours of counseling with a focus on violence and controlling behavior.
In addition, the agreement would have stipulated that Suta would not possess any firearms during the period of the deferred sentence.
Eric Sell, a spokesman for the Montana Department of Justice, said there is no legal requirement that a sheriff carry a firearm in order to hold the position
The job of sheriff in Montana is an elected position and carrying a gun is not a requirement to be elected.
(AUGUST 8, 2017) Pondera County Sheriff Carl Suta pleaded not guilty in Conrad on Tuesday to a charge of misdemeanor assault.
Suta will be booked on the charge today and released on his own recognizance. A Great Falls judge will take over the case. Assistant Attorney General Dan Guzynski filed the charge of misdemeanor partner-family member assault in Pondera County Justice Court on July 21st.
Court documents state that "...on or between January 15, 2017, and February 15, 2017, in Pondera County, the Defendant purposely or knowingly caused bodily injury...by kicking his son." The victim told investigators that Suta had kicked him while he (the victim) was "curled up on the ground."
In mid-April, investigators interviewed one person who said she witnessed the incident. According to court documents, Suta admitted kicking the child.
If Suta is found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and/or ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000. MTN News contacted Suta last week; he declined to comment on the charge.