• Last modified 722 days ago (July 27, 2022)


Judge rejects changing plea

Staff writer

A plea bargain made by a Marion woman in January will stand despite her having asked to take back her no-contest plea.

During a July 18 hearing in district court, chief judge Benjamin Sexton did not allow Rexana J. Siebert to take back three pleas of no contest to charges of battery against a law enforcement officer in return for dismissal of all charges in eight other cases filed since 2020.

As part of her plea deal, she agreed to pay $439.92 restitution for a bad check and comply with mental health services, including taking medication.

Her sentencing on the three charges of battery against a law enforcement officer is now scheduled for Aug. 9.

Three days after the hearing, Newton police had to tell Siebert to leave Newton Inn after management had told her to do so but she didn’t. Newton police said that when they arrived and told Siebert she had to leave, she complied.

Sentencing guidelines suggest she could be sentenced to anywhere from as little as three years’ community corrections to as much as 136 months in prison for battery of a law enforcement officer, depending on her criminal history.

Most charges filed against Siebert have been misdemeanors.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, the county attorney and defense lawyer agreed to ask the judge to order three years’ probation.

In Siebert’s motion to withdraw her plea, her court-appointed lawyer, Chris Ambrose, wrote that Siebert had “a tumultuous several years with law enforcement in Marion County.”

She claimed jailer Tammy Whiteside, deputies Matthew Regier and Aaron Christner, Marion officers Duane McCarty and Clinton Jeffrey, Hillsboro officer Jessey Hiebert, and undersheriff Larry Starkey used “abusive and inappropriate power dynamics.”

“These interactions drove her to a feeling where her only option was to take a plea,” her lawyer wrote. “In the months between her entry of plea and sentencing, Ms. Siebert came to the conclusion that she felt under duress, and that’s why the plea was entered.”

Charges dismissed when she entered her plea included three counts of disorderly conduct, three counts of interference with law enforcement, three counts of giving a worthless check, three counts of criminal trespass, and one count each of domestic battery, battery, and residential burglary.

Had Sexton allowed Siebert to withdraw her plea agreement, all dismissed cases would have been reactivated.

In all, 13 criminal cases have been filed against Siebert since 2017.

Last modified July 27, 2022