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Prosecutor files charges against Emery commissioner

By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

The charges include three third degree felony misusing public monies counts.

If found guilty, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of an indeterminate zero to five-year term in the Utah State Prison and a fine of $5,000 for each count.

Sitterud has been summoned to appear before Judge Douglas B. Thomas on July 15 at 9 a.m. in the 7th District Court in Emery County.

The amount of money in question is reportedly between $1,000 and $1,500 and involves travel reimbursements.

Count one claims that on or about Nov. 3, 2005, Dec. 1, 2005, Jan. 5, 2006, Feb. 2, 2006, April 6, 2006, May 4, 2006 and/or Jan. 4, 2007, Sitterud appropriated public money for his or another's use or benefit without the authority of law.

Count two alleges that the defendant on or about March 2, 2006 appropriated public money for his own or another's use or benefit without the authority of law.

Count three, contends that the commissioner or about May 17, 2006 appropriated public money for his or another's use or benefit without authority of law.

To date, the criminal case has been handled by Patrick B. Nolan, an assistant at the Utah Attorney General's Office.

Nolan indicated that there is an ongoing investigation into the matter. When the defendant appears in district court, the judge will read the charges and a preliminary hearing will be set.

If the judge finds probable cause at the preliminary hearing, the case could be set for trial.

"It's a long way from here to there and a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The county attorney's office is completely out of this. We are representing the state and will take care of it," said Nolan.

According to the Utah Code 17-16-10.5, failure to perform duties constitutes malfeasance in office. Felony charges arising from official duties results in paid administrative leave and reassignment of duties.

If criminal charges are dismissed or the defendant is acquitted, the official shall be entitled to return to public office unless the individual's term has in the meantime expired.

If a defendant is convicted of a felony or attempting to commit a felony arising from conduct related to the official duties, the sentencing judge shall order the public officer removed from office.




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