Suspended Officer Avoids Jail With Court Appearance

SPOKANE — A suspended Spokane police officer facing charges stemming from a 2007 off-duty shooting will be staying out of jail even though he violated the conditions of his release.

Jay Olsen, who is free from jail on a $25,000 bond, appeared in court Thursday just in time to avoid having a warrant issued for his arrest.

One of the conditions of his remaining out of jail has been to maintain regular contact with his attorney. However the lines of communication broke down this summer so much so that Olsen’s attorney, Rob Cossey, went to prosecutors and said he could not reach or find his client.

“My client never left the county and didn’t violate any of those terms of his release but he was house sitting for another family member and was receiving my letters and did not go get them from his house,” Cossey offered the court as an explanation for the communication breakdown.

Lawyers on both sides decided to give Olsen one more week to turn up and when he didn’t, Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz asked the court to revoke Olsen’s bond and put out a warrant for his arrest.

However just about the same time the motion was filed Olsen figured out everybody was looking for him and on Thursday prosecutors withdrew their request to put Olsen back in jail.

Judge Jerome Leveque said that in this age of cell phones and text messaging he was surprised Olsen and his attorney lost contact with each other. Judge Leveque then promptly tightened up his release conditions, saying he had to remain in contact with his attorney once every week.

Olsen goes on trial in November for the off-duty shooting of Spokane resident Shonto Pete in Peaceful Valley in February of 2007.