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Court tracker pleads guilty to four counts

Sun Advocate editor

A former county drug court tracker pleaded guilty March 24 to four third degree felony custodial sexual relations and tampering with evidence charges.

On Tuesday, Melanie Madill appeared before Judge Lyle R. Anderson to answer a formal felony level complaint containing six separate third degree counts, one custodial sexual relations charge and five tampering with evidence offenses.

Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate acted on behalf of the state prosecutor's office and Michael Olsen represented the 41-year-old defendant at the 7th District Court proceeding.

Pursuant to a negotiated disposition agreement, Madill waived the right to a previously scheduled preliminary hearing in connection with the criminal matter before the defendant entered guilty pleas at felony arraignment on the third degree custodial relations count and four of the third degree tampering with evidence charges.

After accepting the Price resident's guilty pleas, the court referred Madill to the Utah Department of Corrections for a presentence investigation and tentatively set pronouncement of judgment in the defendant's four third degree felony level convictions on May 13.

Under Utah statute, the maximum penalty imposable in third degree felony criminal convictions includes an indeterminate 0-5-year term in the Utah State Prison.

In exchange for the entrance of the four guilty pleas, Judge Anderson granted a joint prosecution-defense motion and dismissed the two remaining third degree tampering with evidence counts contained in the criminal case filed against Madill.

Dated Feb. 2, the formal criminal complaint accused the former drug court tracker of committing all six of the third degree felony offenses from November 2008 through January 2009.

Count one contended that the defendant, while employed as a county correctional or law enforcement officer, purportedly engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse with an individual in official custody.

The complaint identified the drug court participant in question as a probationer or a person under correctional supervision.

Counts two though six contended that the Price resident knowingly or intentionally altered, concealed or removed evidence collected as a drug court tracker with the purpose of impeding investigations into suspected unlawful activities of program participants.

Madill initially came under scrutiny as a result of information provided by several confidential sources regarding the tracker's alleged criminal activities involving several participants in the local drug court program, indicated Strate during a January interview.

Defendants charged with felony drug-related crimes apply to participate in the program after appearing before the district court to answer the criminal offenses. The tracker monitors the participants, who must voluntarily submit to random drug testing as part of the program.

The confidential informants claimed that Madill purportedly altered, falsified or delayed the mandatory drug screenings for individuals participating in the county drug court program, continued the county attorney.

Prior to accepting the drug court tracker position, Madill worked as a correctional officer at the county jail.

In order to qualify to occupy jailer positions with the sheriff's department, candidates must obtain Utah Police Officers Standards and Training certification.

While evaluating the validity of the leads from the confidential informants, the state prosecutor and the sheriff's office implemented a policy to handle the administrative and criminal aspects of the matter independently, explained Strate.

Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova conducted an administrative review hearing with Madill and, following the discussion into the allegations, the Price resident resigned the drug court tracker position.

Upon completing the administrative stage of the process, the sheriff's department transferred the case to the county attorney's office and local law enforcement authorities initiated an intensive criminal investigation into the allegations, pointed out Strate.

The cooperative law enforcement effort included representatives from the sheriff's office and the county attorney's criminal investigator, Detective Will Draughon.

The detective conducted interviews with confidential informants as well as Madill before arresting and booking the former drug court tracker into the Emery County Jail on Jan. 27 on three third degree felony level counts, one custodial sexual relations charge and two tampering with evidence offenses. The jail released the defendant after Madill posted a $15,000 bond in connection with the matter.

Additional information surfaced during the investigation and the county attorney's office expanded the formal criminal complaint to include five third degree tampering with evidence counts along with the custodial sexual relations charge, concluded Strate.

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