The official misconduct charge against Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey is now in the hands of County Judge Randin Roland of Sidney.
Both sides in Dailey’s bench trial in Dawes County Court rested their cases Wednesday but rather than immediately issuing a decision, Judge Roland took it under advisement and said he would issue his ruling in 3 weeks.
Dailey is accused of violating state law by refusing to accept 33-year old Jesse Sierra of Pine Ridge as a prisoner at the county jail from the Nebraska State Patrol in July 2019. Sierra had been arrested for kidnapping and assaulting a Rapid City woman for a week, much of it spent in Crawford – which contracts with Dailey’s office for law enforcement services.
Dailey said it was because Sierra had been injured and he didn’t want the county to face medical or liability issues since the jail doesn’t have medical facilities.
Prosecutor Corey O’Brien, head of the Attorney General’s Criminal Bureau, argued that Dailey was acting out of spite because he was angry with Chadron Police Chief Tim Lordino and the State Patrol command echelon over not being notified directly that they were sending officers and troopers to the Crawford motel.
More than 2-½ hours of the trial were spent playing audio recordings by NSP investigator Chad Elwood of North Platte of 2 conversations with Dailey – apparently made without his knowledge.
The sheriff recounted in colorful language his deep, bitter, and long standing personal and professional dislike of Chief Lordino and of the command level of the state patrol.
Dailey said that in hindsight, his anger toward Lordino and the State Patrol command might have influenced his decision not to accept Sierra and that technically, maybe he should have booked and then transferred him to Scotts Bluff County as Dailey had frequently done with other prisoners who might have injuries
The sheriff also explained to investigator Ellwood that financial considerations come into play in such decisions because when Dawes County accepts a prisoner in the jail, it’s responsible for whatever medical expenses that inmate may incur.
Earlier trial testimony included the State Trooper who was trying to get Sierra booked admitting he was also turned down by the Sheridan and Box Butte County jails before finally taking the prisoner to Scotts Bluff County.