Court action 2

MADISON — A Norfolk man was given probation for attempted possession of methamphetamine here in district court on Friday.

James Spencer, 47, appeared before Judge Mark Johnson on Friday morning with his attorney, Frederick Bartell.

Deputy County Attorney Matthew Kiernan said Spencer has an extensive criminal record.

“One of the things that stands out is the criminal history; it is rather lengthy,” Kiernan said. “The police reports are also somewhat disturbing. I’m guessing the defendant was on methamphetamine when the events occurred.”

Spencer was arrested after the Child Abuse Hotline received reports of welfare concerns for one of his children, according to court records.

At one point, Spencer threatened to physically assault the victim and charged after him before the victim was able to get away, according to records.

Bartell said that while Spencer’s criminal record was long, most of it is not recent.

“From 1999 to here recently, he was doing great,” he said. “He was on the straight and narrow, doing well.”

This changed when life events, such as a divorce and failed business, caused Spencer to turn back to drug use, Bartell said.

“This case is a significant reminder for James that this is an issue he’s going to need to battle for the rest of his life,” Bartell said. “As far as I can tell, James appreciates the seriousness.”

Spencer said he made a mistake and ended nearly two decades of sobriety.

“I can’t believe I gave up 19 years of sobriety,” Spencer said. “I don’t want to say I’m glad this happened, but I got back to AA, I got back to all the people who used to support my sobriety and I’ve been doing good the last nine months and I want to continue doing good. Life got me down, and I screwed up.”

Johnson told Spencer he would need to work hard to change.

“Unless you engage in significant treatment and recovery programs, this kind of behavior will continue,” Johnson said.

Johnson then sentenced Spencer to 12 months of probation and court costs.

Johnson sentenced others Thursday and Friday for the following:

Third-degree assault

— Matthew Sieck, 28, Battle Creek, 24 months’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 68 days served, costs.


— Andrew Casperson, 42, no address listed, 4 to 6 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections, costs.

Revocation of probation

— Michael Fowler, 29, Norfolk, probation extended 9 months.

Attempted possession of hashish or concentrated cannabis

— Caleb Jasa, 23, Norfolk, $1,000, 30 days in jail with credit for 28 days served, costs.

Attempted possession of methadone with intent to deliver

— Vanessa Rauch, 23, Pierce, 36 months’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 17 days served, costs.

Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident

— Tyler Deitloff, 36, Plainview, 30 months’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 30 days served, license revoked for 2 years, costs.

Delivery of methamphetamine

— Trenton Hackett, 31, Norfolk, attempted possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, 7 to 12 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 203 days served, costs.


— Jaron Hoard, 32, Norfolk, attempted assault on a confined person, 18 months in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 104 days served, 12 months’ postrelease supervision, costs.

Possession of methamphetamine

— Joshua D. Molczyk, 35, Meadow Grove, 1 year in the Nebraska Department of Corrections with credit for 4 days served, costs.

In other news

Rats can drive cars. Not your car or my car. (Their legs really wouldn’t reach the pedals, after all.) Rather, researchers have created tiny cars just for their lab rats and certain experiments and have taught the little critters how to drive.

There was plenty of action on the track during the Don Weyrich Classic on Wednesday night at Off Road Speedway in an event held to honor Norfolk’s longtime driver and member of the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame.