Channel 5 anchorman Dick Nourse is in jail.
So are JoAnn Jacobsen-Wells and Elaine Jarvik of the Deseret News. All were arraigned before "Judge" David Pennock on Monday night on separate, but equally serious charges. All three pleaded guilty to unusual charges filed against them by the American Cancer Society.Nourse was accused of "stealing the show at KSL for more than 25 years." When asked how he pleaded to the charges, he replied, "Only if I have to."
The judge saw no humor in Nourse's comment and set bail at $500. But as soon as he set bail, members of the makeshift courtroom chanted, "No. No! More! More!" In a move unprecedented in Utah "courts," cancer society volunteer Pennock changed his mind and raised the bail to $2,500.
Officers escorted the smiling newsman to a jail cell in the back of the room at the University Park Hotel where Nourse and other "inmates" were given access to telephones and allowed to make as many phone calls as possible to raise the money that would be donated to the American Cancer Society.
When asked about the unusual increase in bail, Pennock - known as "The Hanging Judge" - told the Deseret News, "It's a technique learned from the Romans. We set bail by popular demand. It's a more prudent way to handle some of these severe cases."
"Jailhouse" Jacobsen-Wells, medical writer for the Deseret News, was accused of criminal abuse of the spell-check function of the equipment (to check medical terms) at the newspaper. "I am very guilty," she told the judge. Bail was set for $2,500.
"Have some mercy!" "Jailbird" Jarvik pleaded when brought before the judge. She was charged with "abuse of a thesaurus."
"She has been observed in the Deseret News city desk room looking up synonyms for dirty words," volunteer Dan Lofgren told the judge. When asked to enter her plea, Jarvik asked for a thesaurus so she could find "the right word." Having some obvious compassion, the judge set Jarvik's bail at $1,000.
Paul "Light Fingers" Pollei, founder and director of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, was accused of criminal abuse of a Steinway piano. He allegedly was observed playing "Last Train to Clarksville" by the Monkees on a grand piano. The judge set bail at $2,000.
Glade "The Blade" Peterson, general director of Utah Opera, was accused of criminal abuse of breakfast foods. He allegedly was singing in the shower with such fortissimo the sound waves traveled to his neighbor's house and ruptured the yolks of their sunnyside-up eggs. Despite singing to the judge, "Oh, let me go home," bail was set at $2,000.
But perhaps the most heinous crime of the evening was charged against KALL radio personality Danny Kramer. He was charged with "participating in the most boorish, downright obnoxious commercials on television" for his "free labor" ads for a local carpet company. Kramer was ordered to raise $3,000 bail.
Channel 4 meteorologist Rebecca Reheis, Channel 2 reporter Charlene Brown and Salt Lake Times publisher Richard Bjornn were held in contempt of court and ordered to appear before the judge Tuesday.
"We know where you are at noon tomorrow, Charlene," he said. "And Rebecca, your weather days are numbered."
The Jail-A-Thon continued through Oct. 28. For a $20 donation, a Jail-A-Thon sheriff will serve the warrant, arrest and transport a friend, co-worker, husband or boss to one of the 15 American Cancer Society jail sites throughout Utah where a judge will set bail and order the person "jailed" until he can raise the bail in pledges.
All profits from the Jail-A-Thon are tax deductible and will go toward funding cancer research, patient services and lifesaving education programs of the American Cancer Society. For more information, call 322-0431.