Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nurse gets five years probation


REBECCA SMITH stands with her attorney, Guy Louie, waiting for Judge Douglas Phimister hands out the sentence. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

From page A1 | January 25, 2013 | 2 Comments

The nurse, who pleaded no contest to elder abuse after a patient in her care died, was sentenced in court on Wednesday.

Rebecca Smith appeared with her attorney, Guy Louie, before Judge Robert Baysinger. After her case was pushed from the morning to the afternoon, Baysinger noted that the sentence proposed by the El Dorado County Probation Department was not the same as Smith had agreed to in her plea deal, but he “did not disagree with it” and called it “reasonable.”

Deputy Attorney General Steven Muni, the prosecutor, also gave Baysinger a three-page document regarding the sentencing, which he had written since the morning hearing was pushed back.

After reading it, Baysinger asked whether Smith was averse to him sentencing her, as she was legally allowed to be sentenced by the judge who accepted her plea, Judge Douglas C. Phimister. She agreed to an Arbuckle Waiver, allowing Baysinger to sentence her.

Before sentencing her, Baysinger noted that the case was “as unusual as it is tragic.” Muni confirmed that the facility Smith was a nurse at had been sold and was under completely new management. He also noted that victim Johnnie Esco’s husband, Don, had been awarded a “seven-figure settlement in a civil suit” before his death last October.

Stephanie Clark of the Probation Department also confirmed that the county had a compact with Louisiana, where Smith lives, concerning any probation she might be sentenced to, and that if there were any “issues,” she would be transported back to California.

A sentence of five years of formal probation was then given by Baysinger. Smith was to have no contact with the business, even in its new form, and, as she was now a convicted felon, she would be prohibited from owning firearms and, for the duration of the probation, be required to submit to any searches by any peace officers, regardless of probable cause or warrants. She would also be required to comply with any requests to testify in the case against Donna Palmer, the director of nursing of the facility at the time of the incident.

Smith was also sentenced to 360 days in El Dorado County Jail, with five days credit for already having been served. This was stayed pending successful completion of probation. Baysinger noted that Smith would be able to petition for an early termination of probation, pending good behavior, after three years. She was also ordered to serve 300 hours of community service. Over $1,000 in fines and restitution was imposed.

When asked by Baysinger, Smith agreed to the terms.

“There are no winners” in the case, Baysinger concluded. “I am sorry you got into this” for both her and Johnnie Esco’s sake, he said.

The charges against Palmer and Smith came as a result of the death of Johnnie Esco, who died as a result of fecal impaction in 2008 while under the care of the nurses at El Dorado Convalescent Hospital in Placerville.


Discussion | 2 comments

  • barf13January 25, 2013 - 5:02 pm

    Sounds like this could be written as a good movie plot. There are a lot of movie stars out there just begging for work. " FECAL IMPACTION" What a movie title !!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • GKTMarch 17, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    To the only other person who commented on this story. I am a CNA, and fecal impaction isn't a joking matter, and certainly when someone has died from one. If monitored and treated right a fecal impaction can be resolved with a good prognosis. I am doing a resarch paper on this case actually, and these so called nurses should have been doing their job, instead of who knows what they were really doing, when they were supposed to be caring for their residents!! This whole story makes me sick to my stomach and I have cried numerous times over it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment


EDH Fire Dept. annexing Latrobe

By Noel Stack | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Motorcycle fatality in Greenwood

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Greenwood School being restored

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Cal Fire increasing staffing, hiring

By Cal Fire | From Page: B1

EID restricts watering days

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1, 13 Comments

Lover’s Leap fall injures man

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A1

Tea Party meeting April 17

By Tea Party Patriots Of El Dorado Hills | From Page: A3, 62 Comments

Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking May 1

By El Dorado Hills Community Vision Coalition | From Page: A6

Floating body not a body

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A7

Old mill a goner

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A11, 18 Comments | Gallery



Real estate lies

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 15 Comments

A great big thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Murder? Suicide?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 8 Comments

‘Drive Clean’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

Middle class getting poorer?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 54 Comments



Outside with Charlie: Switch gear

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A8

Ponderosa volleyball is a family affair

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Aussie team makes visit

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A8

Griz have challenging day

By Mike Bush | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Roundup: April 15, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery



At a glance: Take aim on fun

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Men to walk a mile in her shoes

By Center For Violence-Free Relationships | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Runners stampede for Sugarloaf scholarships

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Team works to fight disease

By Placerville Kiwanis | From Page: B3

COOL School is accepting applications

By Rescue Union | From Page: B4

Band of Miwoks fund mission

By Shingle Springs Band Of Miwok Indians | From Page: B12



Crime Log: March 25-27

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-15-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Numa Edward “Ed” Roberts

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Ronald Russell Rohrer

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 2 Comments


Real Estate



Horoscope, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10


By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10