Hubbard County pot suspects seek court-appointed attorneys
PARK RAPIDS - A tearful Talora Ann Smith appeared in Hubbard County Court Monday, looking frail, using a walker.
She told District Judge Robert Tiffany that she must move out of her rental property in two weeks. That rental property on Becker Line Road was the site of a major marijuana growing operation, for which Smith, her husband, James Bernard Young, and two others were arrested last week.
"I've contacted three attorneys and they won't represent us because we can't pay the retainer," she said. "I contacted the bank and we don't have the money we thought we had. I have a seizure disorder and I'm pacemaker dependent."
Smith, who said her family and children all live in Massachusetts, sobbed that she doesn't know what to do because she doesn't know anyone in the area.
"I'm just totally at a loss," she said. "I need to know what to do."
She begged the judge to allow her to contact her husband, who sat across the courtroom from her and was trying to communicate with her until bailiff Al Bruns prevented them from mouthing words and using hand signals. Tiffany placed a "no contact" order on all four defendants, who appeared in court Monday.
Smith begged the judge to be allowed to call her husband in the Hubbard County Correctional Center. Tiffany refused.
"At least he could give me some guidance," she said. "I'm out here all alone. I've never been to jail."
Smith and co-defendant Molly Rose Riewer, who appeared in court with three family members at her side, were able to post bond after their arrests. Riewer, 22, and Tyler Charles Englund, 48, will be represented by public attorney Michael Undem. Englund and Young made separate appearances in orange prison scrubs.
Young, 68, told the judge he and Smith, 62, are living primarily on Social Security.
Tiffany told the couple to re-submit applications for court-appointed attorneys to see if they financially qualified. Smith said the couple has no assets.
Seven agencies conducted a mid-morning raid May 11 at the home, finding numerous marijuana plants growing and recently harvested, along with a sophisticated hydroponic lab. Authorities conducted the raid after an anonymous tip led them to the operation, which has been under surveillance for a while.
Tiffany told Smith she can avail herself of Social Services help and other agencies, but she cannot make contact with her husband for the time being.
Riewer's omnibus hearing is set for June 22; Young's and Smith's for June 1.
Englund, who will be charged with a parole violation for allegedly not abiding by the terms of his probation for a previous drug conviction, will also have his hearing June 2