Former law enforcement officer pleads guilty in felony complaint
|Joe Christman waits in the hall at the county court complex on Dec. 16. The former Price councilman was initially scheduled to appear before the 7th District Court on one third degree felony misusing public monies charge last Thursday.However, the court continued the criminal proceeding to Dec. 21.|
On Dec. 20, a former Price city councilman and Utah Highway Patrol trooper pleaded guilty to misusing public monies in the 7th District Court.
Appearing before Judge Bryce K. Bryner, Henry Joseph Christman waived the right to a preliminary hearing in the criminal complaint and the defendant entered a guilty plea at felony arraignment on the third degree misusing public monies charge.
Assistant Utah attorney general Patrick Nolan acted on behalf of the state prosecution and legal counsel Michael Jensen represented the 48-year-old defendant at Monday's criminal proceeding.
Filed Dec. 16 in the district court, the formal criminal information accuses Christman of intentionally, knowingly or recklessly appropriating public monies without the authority of the law during the one-year period between January 2003 and January 2004.
Rather than attempting to dispute the allegations cited in the felony level complaint, Christman's legal counsel submitted a statement of the defendant to the court admitting to certain elements of the third degree charge.
In the defendant's statement, Christman confirmed that he was employed full-time as an investigator with the Utah Department of Commerce's occupational and professional licensing division between January 2003 and April 2004.
During the period in question, the defendant admitted to:
Failing to comply with established policy while commuting back and forth to Price in a state vehicle.
Accepting part-time employment outside the occupational and professional licensing division as a law enforcement officer with Sunnyside city.
Accepting full-time employment outside the occupational and professional licensing division as a law enforcement officer with Helper city.
Accepting payments from the state and the two cities on various occasions for working the same hours on the same days.
Judge Bryner accepted Christman's guilty plea on the third degree felony count, then granted a joint motion to sentence the defendant on a reduced class A misdemeanor category offense.
Pronouncing judgment in the criminal complaint, the court sentenced Christman to one year in the Carbon County Jail, imposed at total fine of $1,850 and directed the defendant to satisfy an additional $2,688.02 in restitution to the state of Utah.
Judge Bryner suspended the service of the entire one-year jail sentence, on condition Christman pays the designated fine and restitution amounts plus applicable interest in full as directed, before placing the defendant on informal probation to the court for 24 months.
As conditions for informal supervision, Judge Bryner instructed the defendant to submit letters regarding his progress to the court as well as the assistant attorney general on a monthly basis and violate no laws during the 24-month probationary period.
In addition, the court ordered Christman to submit full payment of the $2,688.08 in restitution to the assistant attorney general within the next 30 days and complete 80 hours of community work service within the next four months.
Along with admitting to the elements of the third degree felony crime, Christman stipulated to the revocation of his current law enforcement officer certification in the statement of the defendant. Court records indicate that the defendant surrendered the certification to the assistant attorney general prior to the Dec. 20 proceeding in the felony level criminal case.
Christman's resignation from the Price City Council became effective Oct. 31.