IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT
OF THE STATE OF IDAHO
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF LATAH
STATE OF IDAHO,
STEVEN JAMES SITLER,
EXCERPT FROM THE REVIEW OF PROBATION TERMS HEARING
HAD ON THE 1st DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2015, AT 2:00 P.M.
PRESIDING: The Honorable John R. Stegner,
FOR THE STATE:
Latah County Prosecutor’s Office
P.O. Box 8068
Moscow, Idaho 83543
FOR THE DEFENDANT:
Attorney at Law
Wullenwaber Law Firm
P.O. Box 452
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
Sheryl L. Engler, RPR, CSR No. 761
BE IT REMEMBERED that the above-entitled matter came on for hearing before the Honorable John R. Stegner, District Judge, on September 1, 2015, at the hour of at 2:00 p.m., in the District courtroom of the Latah County Courthouse, City of Moscow, County of Latah, state of Idaho, the following proceedings were had as follows:
(EXCERPT FROM THE HEARING HAD ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2015, AT 2:00 P.M.)
THE COURT: Well, I have said on prior occasions that I view the Department of Correction, and specifically the Department of Probation, as my eyes and ears. And I think that is an apt description.
Um, the point I think you’re making, Mr. Wullenwaber, is that sometimes they overreact and are overprotective. And, um, I don’t know that I can take issue with them when they take that position.
Uh, to the extent that they overreact or are overprotective, and that action is unreasonable, I think a disinterested magistrate, such as myself, stands as the check on that overreaching.
Um, let’s deal with the easy questions first. Um, I think valley Treatment Center — or Specialties says that, um — uh, there should be a line-of-sight chaperon with Mr. Sitler and his son, and I think that makes ever so much sense under the circumstances.
We have a failed polygraph. We don’t know if there is any fire where there is smoke, but we have some smoke, and we’re trying to sort out what smoke there is and whether there is a fire.
And I— I haven’t seen the fire, uh, but I have, uh, been apprised that there is smoke, and so I’m going to take it slowly. And I think Valley Treatment Specialties has a plan in place, or a suggestion that makes sense, and that is that Mr. Sitler would need a line-of-sight chaperoning with his interactions with his young son.
Uh, I thik they also suggest that, um — let me just read what valley Treatment says: Recognizes — VTS recognizes that Mrs. Sitler — and this is Mrs. Steven Sitler — has gone through the chaperon training and has had that status revoked by Probation. VTS would recommend that further training be done with Mrs. Sitler to reinstate her chaperone status. It would help address the unique situations that family entail with both an infant and the treatment issues that Mr. Sitler faces.
Um, I realize that Katie Sitler’s status as a chaperon has been suspended, but I think the implication is also that it could be reinstated at some point, um, assuming that she goes through whatever additional training is needed to get to the status of a chaperone.
I think Steven Sitler should undergo relapse prevention in the meantime. Um, and I would like to have him undergoing a polygraph and pass that polygraph. I think, uh, the fire would be put out if there were a polygraph that were undertaken and passed. I don’t know if that can be accomplished.
I am all too familiar with the frailties of polygraphs. I use them routinely in my drug court. And when I use them routinely, the PhD psychologists bridle at my use of them, but I use them nevertheless.
They are tools. They give me information. Uh, what weight I ascribe to that information is for my purposes, but sometimes I learn things when someone undergoes a polygraph, just from having undergone a polygraph.
So, um, I use them. I recognize their frailties. But I would throw in with you in acknowledging that I’m not sure everybody in this room would be successful in passing them, nor am I ready to predict that 50 percent of the people in that room would pass them. Um, but they’re a tool, and I use them, and I use them in these types of cases.
Um, I — I think there was a lot mentioned about human interaction and familial interaction. And while I agree that it would be a parent’s desire, and a wife’s desire, to not see their child or her husband, um, in harm’s way, but I think it’s also human to think that that, um, grandson and son, uh, would also be within the protective ambit of that family.
And to suggest that, um, a family will let a son commit heinous, um, activity on another child of that family is hard for me to fathom. I, uh — um, I think there is some protective factors, um, at work, especially if we have a line-of-sight chaperone for Steven Sitler, that, um, I think we’ll benefit — so. If I’m pronouncing that correctly.
So, um, I have also the consolidation of terms and conditions that were provided to me. I think it makes the most sense for me to, uh, modify those and submit them to counsel to see if there’s, uh, any objection, and if there is objection, we’ll have a hearing and sort those out at that time.
(END OF EXCERPT PORTION OF THE REVIEW OF PROBATION HEARING)