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Charges reinstated against Wheat

PORT ORCHARD — The 1999 DUI and cocaine charges previously dismissed against Suquamish Tribal Attorney Scott Wheat were reinstated by a Pierce County judge on Monday following a daylong hearing. Judge Frederick Hayes decision was based on strong circumstantial evidence that false drug test results were given to the Drug Court on five different occasions.

Michael Marshall, the Wellness Center employee who allegedly submitted the information to the court, is also facing criminal charges.

Comprehensive Toxicology Services, the laboratory which conducted Wheat’s required drug tests, testified that a positive result for THC, a chemical found in marijuana, occurred five times during the year Wheat was in the Drug Court program.

Wheat entered the program in September 1999 and the charges against him were dismissed after he completed a year there. In the program, participants are subjected to random urinalysis tests and

must be clean and sober for at least six months before they can graduate said Superior Court Judge Jay Roof, who presides over the drug court. Roof testified that he would have never allowed Wheat to graduate if he had known about the positive drug test results.

According to weekly progress reports issued by the Suquamish Wellness

Program who oversaw his Drug Court progress, Wheat’s urinalysis results came back negative except for two occasions. He admitted to alcohol use and on a separate occasion marijuana use. He was sanctioned by the Drug Court and based on reports sent from the Wellness Center successfully completed the program in September 2000.

In April a then Wellness Center employee tipped drug court officials to some abnormalities in the center’s files. A few days later Betsy Bosch, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Coordinator, performed an already scheduled audit of the Wellness Center’s records asking specifically for Wheat’s file. Bosch was one of four witnesses called to testify in the case Monday. The defense argued that Bosch or anyone else should not have been able to discuss the contents of Wheat’s file, including urinalysis results, because he had not waived his confidentiality.

Although his client had waived his confidentiality right as part of the Drug Court procedure Wheat’s attorney Zachary Fleet, that waiver had expired. He continued to maintain this point throughout the hearing Monday that airing the details of Wheat’s Drug Court progress violated federal laws.

Kitsap County deputy prosecutor Matt Clucas argued and Hayes sided with the fact the drug test results had already been discussed in open court.

Each side argued on the admissibility of documents that were submitted to the Wellness Program from the lab and a set of documents sent to the drug court from the Wellness program. Witnesses for the prosecution included Bosch; Superior Court Judge Roof, Steve Kohrt a licensed chemical dependency counselor who submitted reports he received from the Wellness Center, and Dr. Daniel Baker, lab director for Comprehensive Toxicology Services.

During the next few weeks, a judge will also decide if Wheat will be terminated from the Kitsap County Drug Court program.

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