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Barkus accepts tougher sentence

Former senator on supervised probation with $29,000 fine

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Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011 11:57 am

Former state Sen. Greg Barkus of Kalispell on Thursday was dealt a four-year deferred sentence and ordered to pay $29,000 in fines and restitution for criminal endangerment stemming from a 2009 boat crash on Flathead Lake.

He agreed to the sentence after a judge rejected a more lenient plea agreement in Flathead County District Court.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • mkohana posted at 6:08 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2011.

            mkohana Posts: 41

            Corrigan needs to loose his place in office what a joke. A few weeks back I tried speaking to Corrigan about fabricated evidence that was produced by his office and prosecuting attorney Lori Adams along with Michelle O'neil at the KPD to go after my oldest and 2nd son. When I asked him to look at the evidence and see that the boys are not guilty for what they have been accused he stated he didn't need to look at the evidence to know he's guilty he's just guilty. He wasn't even familiar with the case or didn't even look at the evidence in the case he basically stated he "TRUSTED" Lori Adams. I've tried to get an attorney involved in this town to look at it...lol yeah right, there all to chicken or in cahoots with that office. I'm not giving up and I will free my son. But everyone needs to do what gehugh stated we all need to excercise our right to voice our opinions with our vote and vote these crooked office holders right out of their seats. They are doing nothing but destroying innocent lives and letting criminals walk free and clear to do more damage.

          • gehugh posted at 9:10 pm on Tue, Jan 25, 2011.

            gehugh Posts: 76

            Time and time again we are reminded that money talks and criminals with money and influence walk.

            Time and time again we are reminded that we need to excercise our right to voice our opinions with our vote!

            Get out there and vote and keep circus events like this from happening again!

          • angelwiz69 posted at 12:54 am on Tue, Jan 25, 2011.

            angelwiz69 Posts: 2

            All I can say is "WOW" because if it was anyone different , then the sentencing would be more severe and all of us know it!

          • outdoor lover posted at 2:32 pm on Sat, Jan 22, 2011.

            outdoor lover Posts: 121

            MrMark, I was talking about the number of counts he was charged with. We seem to have forgotten the prosecution dismissed three felony counts in the plea agreement.

          • MrMark posted at 11:12 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            MrMark Posts: 359

            outdoor lover-Apologies but Barkus was charged for "criminal endangerment". The state law defines this as, "A person who knowingly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another commits the offense of criminal endangerment." Therefore, he did in fact, execute a criminal act. And he is being held accountable. He must pay a fine and restitution. Granted, not accountable enough in most of our eyes. And it's pretty obvious who's you know what Corrigan was kissing! No doubt he's doing his best to better his future since he won't be in this county much longer! (hopefully) Corrigan continues to disgust me with his weak prosecution and plea bargains. And hats off to Judge McKeon for not caving to weakness and choosing the "tougher" sentence. Now go away Barkus! Stay in that home in Cali and stay out of Montana. I don't want your drunk you know what on our highways with any chance of hurting or killing anyone else! (wow, the DIL has turned into the Beacon with their own bad language security!)

          • krispistofferson posted at 6:27 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            krispistofferson Posts: 265

            but Russ, you guys make it so easy! lol!

          • outdoor lover posted at 4:52 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            outdoor lover Posts: 121

            Wait a second, have we all forgotten that he was originally charged with? The Judge could only sentence him on one offense because the prosecutor had dismissed the other charges. Mistake #2! The first mistake was for Barkus to drive the boat intoxicated. I am sickened that he never took accountability for his actions, even when he made his final statement to the Judge he kept saying accident, this was not an accident. This was a criminal act and he should have been held accountable for his actions. Do I personally believe he was sentenced appropriately? Nope, I do not.

            I agree that we need someone to step up and run against Corrigan during our next elections, but until then we are stuck with him. Maybe us as citizens will start talking about who we would like to see run.

            I am personally impressed with Tammi Fisher, the current Mayor of the City of Kalispell. If you look at her record in our District Court when she was an attorney, she never feared taking someone to trial and refused to agree to crapy plea deal. Of course, this is just my opinion.

          • photoguy posted at 4:22 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            photoguy Posts: 940


            I hope your right, but the key is......SOMEBODY has to run against him, if he don't have an opponent, then guess what!

          • HPOfficeJet posted at 1:56 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            HPOfficeJet Posts: 54

            Corrigan is finished. He will never survive another election cycle.

          • whitetail posted at 1:26 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            whitetail Posts: 23

            ya, my mistake i thought was a dui with criminal endangerment. but same deal for the penalty it was way more than first offenders get, if they do get 29,000 fine i doubt most would pay it. i also am not sure what we pay a senator to go to helena every 2 yrs but i bet it is less than mimimium wage, or he could of made 30 times as much staying home, if you think these guys do it for the money, wake up..., lets see put him in jail for 2 yrs what would that cost us, don't drink and drive!!!!!

          • pg5087 posted at 12:46 pm on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            pg5087 Posts: 33

            I don't know why you all are now talking about the people you all probably voted for, You as most voters in this county do ,don't look beyond the political party and only the republican party will do for this county. Do you think Mr. Barkus was any different when he was serving in the legislative. Call around the bars and restuarnts in Helena and they will tell you his nickname. Just ask another former legislator ( not republican ) and they will tell what his bevavior was like in Helena. But that knowledge doesn't matter to the voters in the flathead. He was Mr. Republican and that was all that was necessary to vote for him. The same goes for the county officials you are dishing on. You voted for them, Just shut up. Now watch Mr. Barkus leave the county to winter elsewhere , just where will be the supervision? Not neccessary.

          • photoguy posted at 11:37 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            photoguy Posts: 940

            First of all, he has never been charged with DUI and NO I am not in support of driving drunk no matter what the vehicle is.

            He was charged with a felony and actually if you look through sentencing records as a cross section in many different states, this was actually a bit stronger than many cases. Many judges around the country look at past history in determining a suitable sentence for an offender and I would surmise that any one of us, convicted or the same crime with no history would have actually received a lighter sentence.

            Now as a question for anyone here, if you are charged with a crime, would you have fessed up right away? Even the most honest person rarely fesses up and just takes their punishment, the Police officer was the exception, not the rule.

            As for Ed Corrigan, he is a real disappointment and hopefully someone that is qualified will oppose him in the next election, because so far, we have had no choice and get stuck with him and yes, I feel he is part of the "good ole' boys" network.

          • RussCrowder posted at 10:55 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            RussCrowder Posts: 414

            There is nothing more entertaining than a liberal "nastyfest." Thanks.

          • Conservative Dog posted at 10:47 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            Conservative Dog Posts: 2

            I agree with tealovingmom - he who has the money makes the rules. Sad commentary of the justice system that those in power are somehow above the law while some poor smuck gets the book thrown at him.

          • mom posted at 10:31 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            mom Posts: 629

            This is a reminder to think carefully every time you have a ballot in your hand.

          • tealovingmom posted at 10:16 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            tealovingmom Posts: 38

            There are 3 kinds of justice, one for the rich, one for the poor and one for politicians. Shameful.

          • Been there done that posted at 10:06 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            Been there done that Posts: 101

            Whitetail: Clarification, Barcus plead no contest to a FELONY charge of criminal endangerment; not a misdemeanor DUI........big difference. Regarding "the guy with the 12 DUI's", hopefully repeat offenders will be dealt with harshly by our current legislator. Honestly, I believe a first offense DUI should be dealt with in such a severe manner that a person who drinks would know not to get behind the wheel (some European countries have a manditory 1 year in jail sentence)....... big cultural swing for our state.

          • Flathead Resident posted at 10:03 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            Flathead Resident Posts: 107

            oh, and this is not a first time DUI offender, this is a criminal endangerment, a felony. There is a difference. A first time DUI is a misdemeanor. Just to clarify the difference.

          • Flathead Resident posted at 10:02 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            Flathead Resident Posts: 107

            whitetail, we already wrote the check, it was in taxes to pay his wages! As for the amount, it covered the expenses for the investigation of criminal activity. If he would not have been a man and accepted accountability for his actions, it would not have cost that much. So, the fine is do to his own actions. The fine is the only part of this sentence I agree upon, so we the tax payers do not have to foot the bill for his criminal actions.

          • laker1 posted at 9:58 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            laker1 Posts: 112

            Folks, if you had been reading Dear Editor's columns, you would know that this is all FDR's fault. He ran in 1932 on a platform calling for the repeal of prohibition. It was repealed the same year by a, you guessed it, a Congress full of Democrats.

            It's obvious what is the elephant in the room (sorry, Republicans, but that's the cliche). Is Barkus addicted to alcohol? Two facts suggest he might be. One is that he has been twice apprehended while under the influence of alcohol. The other is the amount of alcohol in his system after the boat accident and his appearance of sobriety. Since the amount declines over time, it is quite probable that his blood alcohol was higher than .16% at the time of the crash. Nevertheless, he was able to stand, talk, and steer a boat. Yes, everybody's different but social drinkers at .16
            % are obviously impaired, if not in a coma. Unless you have a unique physique, the only way to appear sober at .16% is to have learned to compensate for the impairment. Learning how to compensate for any impairment takes a lot of work.

            The obvious issue in the pre-sentence investigation is whether Barkus is an alcoholic. To be sure, he believes he isn't but addicts rarely admit that they are. If the pre-sentence report indicates he is an alcoholic then a condition of any disposition is assessment and treatment until he gets a clean bill. If putting him in jail, even for a day, encourages him to cooperate, then it's worthwhile. If it doesn't, then the judge is simply wasting the taxpayers' money.

            So, what was in the pre-sentence? The article doesn't say. What were the conditions of the deferment. The article doesn't say. Is Barkus required to obtain an evaluation of or treatment for his use of alcohol. The article doesn't say.

            "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." "The dog did nothing in the night-time." "That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

          • whitetail posted at 9:24 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            whitetail Posts: 23

            i know of no other first offense dui where there is no death has ever been fined as much as 29,000.. for those of you who think this isn't much, please write your own check for 29,000 and send it to shodair hospital for kids with addiction since it is such a little amount in your mind, i just saw a guy with 12 dui's finally get prison time. i don't condone drinking and driving. and the fine or the actual arrest is not the penalty, his penalty is much worse than that,

          • Been there done that posted at 8:11 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            Been there done that Posts: 101

            The Govenor called the legislature a bunch of boozers. Conservatives got upset. Conservative Representative Barcus almost kills a boat load of people while drunk. Conservative Representative Shockley gets ticketed for an open container in his vehicle while trying to push through DUI legislation. Both get a slap on the wrist. And these are the individuals elected to protect us from drunk drivers, and to lead the state. HHHHmmmmm.......me thinks the Govenor was right.

          • Not Really posted at 7:42 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            Not Really Posts: 104

            Frank Miele, here's your next topic.

            Say something real for a change.

            Call the boss in Idaho & ask if it's OK to discuss this matter.

            At least we now have a very good reason to get rid of Ed Corrigan.

          • james posted at 4:16 am on Fri, Jan 21, 2011.

            james Posts: 516

            a pat on the wrist ,laughing all the way , justice system is broken

          • accutrax posted at 10:37 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            accutrax Posts: 34

            No doubt the situation has not been good for any of the people involved.
            However, I believe that jail time was in order.
            Jail time would have sent a message to all that drinking and driving is not allowed in Montana.
            I can't help but think of when the Highway Patrolman was killed close to Bad Rock Canyon. What a horrible thing that was.
            The booze culture in politics needs to be stopped. It is not ok.
            No wonder why the present Montana Gov. has talked against it.
            The judge had a chance to do that, and he did not. I wonder why?
            I also think that Editor Frank should discuss this situation in his column.

          • MontanaJim posted at 7:51 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            MontanaJim Posts: 9

            By the way Editor Frank, this might be a good subject for your 2 Cents column on Sunday. I know you have been preoccupied with the FDR administration for many weeks now, but this is something that happened right here locally, in the city and state where your paper is published. It is certainly newsworthy. I would really like to know the views of the Inter Lake editorial board on this. I'm sure we would have already heard it if a Democrat had been involved. Let's see if we hear about it when it's a Republican in conservative Flathead county.

          • MontanaJim posted at 7:37 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            MontanaJim Posts: 9

            Can Barkus explain to me how "I've taken full responsibility for this accident."? He has been trying to get out of this since the day it happened. And then we have his lawyer who maintains "There was no indication Greg was intoxicated that night." How do you have a blood alcohol level of .16 and not be intoxicated? That is twice the legal level allowed by state law. In the end, it looks like the County Attorney Ed Corrigan might bear the most blame. If you have a .16 blood alcohol level test and you still feel you can't win at a trial, you need to find a different job. The good ole boy network still runs just fine in Flathead county. Too bad most of the rest of us can be part of the network when we get in trouble.

          • flowerpot posted at 6:33 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            flowerpot Posts: 1

            Barkus seems to be a well politically connected person, who, in the state of Montana is above the law. He seems to have more than a few dollars. So, he uses his influnce and $29,000 to buy a Montana Get Out of Jail card. John McKeon and Barkus see this deal as justice. I do not agree, and do not think the people of Montana agree with the rich and connected being able to buy their way out of jail for reckless and drunk behavior. This type of "justice" is foolish in the long run. People in Montana will continue to be killed and injured by drunk drivers. Countless victims of drunk drivers in Montana see this "good old boy justice", and it makes us sick. Please, Barkus and Mckeon, get out of public service and let someone who has some wisdom replace you for the sake of the people you pretend to be serving.

          • james posted at 6:15 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            james Posts: 516

            when these guys are unapposed how do you vote them out of office? we need none of the above so we can get rid of them

          • skibum posted at 5:07 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            skibum Posts: 7

            All I can say is if you don't like what is happening in our goverment and our court system you have the right to get out and vote these people out of office when their term is up...just keep this in mind. Vote to change or keep the same DUIs on the loose to do more harm.

          • mtre23 posted at 4:42 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            mtre23 Posts: 80

            Outdoor Lover, the part about Barkus still saying he was not drunk really bothers me to. Also the fact that this is constantly characterized as an accident by his attorney is very troubling. His blood alcohol test were done twice and he was over the limit. This is a FACT. Plus I believe their was a waitress that had stated she saw him drinking. Really, just the lack of accountability is very irritating. The man wont even do the right thing and tell the truth. He hides behind his attorney and cowardly lets him deflect all the questions. All the talk from his attorney was a load of bs. I really wanted this to go to trial but that was never going to happen.

          • outdoor lover posted at 4:11 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            outdoor lover Posts: 121

            I thought the prosecutor was paid to protect our community, am I mistaken? I guess I must be since this is the outcome of this case. Corrigan allowed this case to be continued until after the elections to just plea it down to nothing. Wrong, simply wrong. I have a son who has watched this case carefully and now I wonder if he thinks to himself, well, that is not to bad of a consequence. In reality, this is what is called a "SWEET DEAL" for Barkus. We all know it as the "Barkus Deal" and will now set precedent for future plea deals in similar cases. Remember, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, otherwise prejudicial treatment will be shown.

            As for the Deputy who received a DUI, he took accountability for his actions. He did not lie to law enforcement, he cooperated with the investigation and was truthful. He has already entered a guilty plea and was disciplined by his supervisor. Please do NOT lump these two men in the same category. Barkus has stated over and over that this was an ACCIDENT... NO IT WAS NOT.

            I understand why the Judge ordered him to pay a hefty fine, he had to pay for the investigation fees to convict him, but remember people, we paid his wages for many years, so we really are the ones footing the bill.

          • mahalo_mt posted at 3:33 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            mahalo_mt Posts: 1

            A kid in Helena got 40 years for a DUI that killed two people. Interesting in that he'd had two other convictions while drunk (but not a DUI). This dingbat has two other instances driving drunk (no convictions and officer that was supposed to testify was killed by a drunk driver) and but for the grace of God would have killed at least one if not more, and he gets a deferred sentence? He still doesn't have a DUI conviction, so any future DUI's will be his first. If he wasn't drunk as he contends, why didn't he get prosecuted for a much more severe felony, like attempted homicide. Then let him use the "I was drunk" as a defense.

          • mtre23 posted at 2:55 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            mtre23 Posts: 80

            This is so appalling, it just sickens me. ZERO TOLERANCE? This man nearly killed a bunch of people. Their were serious injuries, and he doesn't have to spend 1 DAY in jail. UNBELIEVABLE. We have a GUTLESS and SPINELESS DA.
            What kind of message does this send out to the rest of the citizens.
            Why wont the drunks get prosecuted, so we can assure they wont be back on the road.
            Their is NO excuse to drink and drive, it is a total choice by the offender. He choose to drink completely on his own volition. No wonder this state has one of the highest dui rates.
            Whatever happened to the sheriff who was drunk driving and ran over someone a couple of months ago. I bet his old friend in the DA's office helped him out to. This is a bunch of

          • Flathead Resident posted at 1:48 pm on Thu, Jan 20, 2011.

            Flathead Resident Posts: 107

            A harsher sentence my buttocks. Regardless he received a sentence where this conviction may be removed from his record. There are individuals who have comitted lesser crimes and been charged with a misdemeanor and have had that conviction, their first, ordered to be suspended which will remain on their record for life. On top of that, he has the ability half way through his sentence to petition the Judge to dismiss the conviction, as all felony offenders sentenced to a deferred are able to do.

            I happen to be a person who boats Flathead Lake every summer for the last 38 years and was hopeful this case would be taken seriously. I only wish he would have committed this crime on the reservation in Lake County. I feel certain the sentence would have been much different.

            What happened to zero tolerance for drunk drivers?

            I am so frustrated, this certainally calls into question why our County Attorney agreed to such a horrid plea agreement to begin with. Of course, he will say it was just a recommendation to the Court and it was the Judge who actually sentenced the defendant and defer blame. So in a way, they both got a deferred sentence.

            SICK SICK SICK


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