Court news roundup

Six months for prescription pill drug deal


A Juneau resident was sentenced to serve six months in prison and three years probation for dealing prescription drugs to an undercover police informant in March.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg last month imposed three years with two and a half years suspended for Bennett L. Tackett II, 35, in accordance with a plea deal.

Prosecutors said Tackett gave the informant five 10 milligram pills believed to contain hydrocodone in exchange for $125. The controlled buy took place at Tackett’s residence and was observed by a police officer, they said.

It was later learned through lab reports that the pills contained a mixture of a weaker pain killer (dihydrocodeine) and non-controlled substances (cold medicine), which made it a lesser offense.

The identity of the confidential Juneau Police Department informant has not been revealed in court proceedings or documents. As the Empire reported earlier, the informant’s cooperation helped a grand jury to indict Tackett and three other defendants, whose cases are still pending.


In failing to register case, transient lifestyle cited as cause

A homeless man in Juneau was sentenced to serve six months in prison for failing to register as a sex offender, which is more than five times the mandatory minimum for the misdemeanor offense.

At a sentencing hearing last month, 50-year-old Frank G. Brown apologized for not complying with registration requirements but said it was due to obstacles presented by his transient lifestyle.

District Attorney James Scott said he sympathized with the argument that it’s challenging for the homeless to re-register each year because of lack of transportation and money. Still, Scott said he believed Brown did not make a reasonable effort especially since police warned Brown to re-register a month prior to his April arrest.

Scott also stressed that Brown was getting a “pretty good deal” since his office agreed to reduce the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor despite Brown’s lengthy (but misdemeanor only) criminal record. If the charge had not been reduced, Brown would have been facing a sentencing range of zero to two years in prison.

The plea deal in this case left sentencing up to the court, and Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said six months should ensure deterrence of non-compliance while also taking into account Brown’s criminal history. Failure to register as a sex offender in the second degree carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 days in prison, he said.

In 2008, a jury convicted Brown of attempted sexual assault in the third degree for attempting to force a woman to give him oral sex while they were drunk on a park bench. That’s a misdemeanor sex offense that requires Brown to register as a sex offender once a year in January for 15 years.


Youthful dealer catches break with SIS, but still must serve some jail time

The sentencing for a 22-year-old Juneau resident accused of dealing methamphetamine will be suspended while he’s on probation for a year, but he will not avoid jail time.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez required Nicholas F. Cashen to serve 30 days in prison as a special condition of probation.

Prosecutors originally charged Cashen with third-degree drug misconduct for dealing methamphetamine to an undercover police informant in April 2012. The informant assisted the Juneau Police Department conduct controlled buys of heroin and meth, which resulted in more than 15 indictments last summer. Most of the cases have already been disposed.

Cashen pleaded guilty earlier this year to a reduced felony charge, and he received the suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) in early July. SIS’s are usually reserved for youthful offenders with good prospects for rehabilitation.

Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at


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Wed, 01/17/2018 - 18:42

Nobody injured in house fire downtown