From the December 1999 Idaho Observer:
Judge, probation officer cousins in blood and conflict
MOSCOW -- Helmer man Fred Leas, 50, appeared November 23, 1999 in front of Judge John Stegner. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, at the request of Leas' probation officer Tom Blewett, was attempting to revoke Leas' probation and send him to prison. Leas' attorney Steve MaHaffey questioned Blewett and it became known that Blewett anf Stegner were cousins. After the admission, Stegner granted Leas' motion that he be recused from further hearings regarding the Leas case.
Leas had allegedly violated a curfew recently imposed as a condition of his probation. Leas was convicted of custodial interference in 1996 and sentenced to jail and probation by Stegner. Leas was found guilty of rescuing his two young daughters from his alcoholic and drug abusive ex-wife Ruth and her convicted pedophile and violent sadistic drug dealer husband Paul Mohr. Blewitt added the 10 p.m. curfew condition to Leas' probation June 29, 1999 because he claimed that he had difficulty locating him.
Leas had been looking at property and was stopped by Deputy Anderson shortly after 11 p.m. August 10, 1999, near the property he went to look at. Earlier that night at 10:25 Mr. Blewitt and Deputy King went to Leas' house to see if they might have an opportunity to enforce the new curfew. Leas, of course, wasn't home. In August Leas called to see if he could come in for his monthly probation interview. When he arrived Blewitt arrested him on an agent's warrant.
After nearly two hours of testimony at the probation revocation hearing, there was a sudden change in the course of the proceedings. Leas' attorney asked Blewitt if he was related to anyone in the courtroom. Blewitt replied yes, he was related to the judge. Judge Stegner then stated that his father is Blewitt's mother's sister. Leas' lawyer then made a motion to recuse Judge Stegner based on this relationship. The judge granted the motion which terminated the hearing.
The case will be reassigned to another judge. Leas' attorney told the court he learned of this relationship just before the hearing. Judge Stegner said he had stated this fact for the record in a previous hearing. Leas' lawyer couldn't recall that statement. It is doubtful that the record will reveal any such statement by Judge Stegner.
Leas child custody horror story, one of the worst we have ever investigated, has been covered extensively over that last 14 months in The Idaho Observer. He and his children have been tortured by a county system that seems determined to throw Leas, an innocent man who loves his children so much he will stop at nothing to protect them, into prison. Stegner, Thompson, Child Psychologist Greg Wilson, employees of Child Protective Services and Idaho Legal Aid all seem to be protecting an underworld relationship with the provably sick and criminal Paul and Ruth Mohr.
We will continue to follow this case. It appears that Leas is now on the offensive. He has excellent and fearless counsel that is helping to unravel a coven of elected criminals who have demonstrated that they are capable of committing any form of behavior that will protect their secrets from being made public.