Former Carbon County Sheriff's Captain Guy Adams pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor count of criminal mischief Monday in Third District Court. In doing so, he confirmed what he told the Sun Advocate last week he would do: spare himself and his family what he termed the uncertainty and expense of a jury trial.
Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman accepted the plea bargain between Adams and the Salt Lake County Attorney's Office, and ruled that the plea will be held in abeyance for one year. If Adams commits no crime during that time, the charge will be dismissed.
He also paid $1,012.89 in restitution - $938.20 to Dave Smith Motors and $74.69 to the Syracuse Police Department - for scratches he was accused of putting in their vehicles last January in South Salt Lake.
Adams, a 21-year veteran with the department, retired last Friday. "This has put such a burden on me and my family, I decided to retire from the Sheriff's Office and pursue a different line of work," he told the newspaper in a conversation on Thursday and in a written statement Friday.
"I never in my wildest dreams would ever think my career would end on such a tragedy," he stated. Adams also said he hoped that the TV news channels would play the surveillance video taken at the car lot where the damaged vehicles were discovered. That way, the people of Carbon County "can make up their own mind if I'm guilty or not."
"What would be my motive to risk 21 years of law enforcement in which 15 were as the under sheriff? I have [one] National Sheriff's Medal of Valor and a second Medal of Valor from Carbon County. I have never had any policy violations nor have I ever broken the law," he continued.
He contended that the video showed him looking in vehicles but not scratching them and that there was nothing in his hand to make a scratch.
On the other hand, Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Craig Stanger wrote in the court document, "There is reasonable cause to believe that the evidence would support the conviction of the defendant for the offense for which the plea is entered, and acceptance of the plea would serve the public interest."
The plea agreement dropped two of the three counts against Adams. The remaining count, a Class A misdemeanor, would carry a penalty of zero-to-12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine plus a 90 percent surcharge.