Last Friday, a former Carbon County Animal Shelter director entered no contest pleas on three class A misdemeanor misusing public money charges.
The defendant, 42-year-old Patricia Ann Pierce, appeared in the 7th District Court on Sept. 16 to answer a formal criminal complaint containing 31 separate third degree felony level misusing public money counts.
Judge Mary L. Manley presided on the district court bench, Emery County Attorney David Blackwell acted as the special state prosecutor and defense counsel John Easton represented Pierce at Friday's criminal proceeding.
Pursuant to a negotiated disposition agreement, Pierce waived the right to trial in the criminal case and the defendant entered no contest pleas on three amended lesser included class A misdemeanor category misusing public money offenses.
After accepting the defendant's no contest pleas on the amended class A misdemeanor counts, the court imposed a one-year jail sentence along with an $1,850 fine and ordered Pierce to satisfy an additional $2,634.01 in restitution to Carbon County in connection with the criminal complaint.
The district judge subsequently stayed the execution of the entire one-year incarceration period, on condition the defendant pays the designated monetary assessments plus applicable interest in full as directed, and placed Pierce on informal probation to the court for 18 months.
In exchange for the former county animal shelter director's entrance of the no contest pleas on the lesser included class A misdemeanor category counts, the court granted a joint defense-prosecution motion and dismissed the remaining 28 third degree felony level misusing public money charges contained in the original criminal information filed against Pierce.
On July 26, Judge Bruce K. Halliday presided over the defendant's initial appearance in the criminal case.
The original complaint contended that Pierce, while serving as the animal shelter director, unlawfully mishandled public funds on 31 separate occasions during the three-year period extending from November 2001 to October 2004.
Citing the alleged basis of all 31 third degree felony level offenses, the formal criminal information accused the defendant of:
Appropriating public monies for personal benefit or to benefit another person without the authority of the law while employed as an individual charged with the receipt, safekeeping, transfer, disbursement of the revenues in question.
Or failing to keep public funds in her possession until disbursed legally under the authority of the law.
Or unlawfully depositing public monies in a bank or with an unauthorized party.
At the conclusion of the July hearing, the court scheduled a Sept. 16 preliminary hearing in the third degree felony level misusing public monies complaint filed against Pierce.