Friday, April 18, 2014

Court deal comes with a catch

By The Herald Staff | 4/1/2013

Former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry already planned to continue his education.

Now it’s mandatory.

Former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry already planned to continue his education.

Now it’s mandatory.

Among the terms of a 12-month diversion agreement Curry must complete in order to have criminal charges against him dropped, the former sheriff must attend school or work regularly in a lawful occupation. Curry had been attending classes at Ottawa University earlier this year in hopes of obtaining an undergraduate degree in business administration.

“I’m at the pinnacle of my career,” Curry told the OU Campus student newspaper for a Feb. 6 cover story. “If I ever decide to seek other job opportunities, having a college education will help.”

Curry was arrested Feb. 27 by agents with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on a felony charge of interference with law enforcement and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct.

If Curry successfully completes the diversion, both criminal charges against him would be dismissed, special prosecutor J. Todd Hiatt, who is working on behalf of the Franklin County Attorney’s Office and the State of Kansas, told Senior Judge John E. Sanders during a scheduled preliminary hearing Monday afternoon for the former sheriff at Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Diversions are agreements entered into between defendants and prosecutors that stipulate if the defendant complies with the terms of the agreement, the charges are dismissed. Diversion programs are available in most district courts, including Franklin County.

In addition to surrendering his law enforcement license and never again seeking such licensing, the pretrial diversion agreement stipulates that Curry would not violate any federal, state or local laws.

The agreement also stipulates the following:

• Curry would have no violent contact with any victims, witnesses or codefendants in this case.

• That Curry would pay a diversion filing fee of $75 and $240 in court costs.

• Curry must notify the county attorney’s office, in writing, of any change of residential address within 10 days of the change.

• Once every three months, Curry must report in writing his whereabouts and employment to the county attorney’s office.

• Curry shall not possess or consume any type of illicit drug while in the diversion program, and that he be willing to submit to any drug testing requested by law enforcement, the county attorney’s office or a judge.

As part of the agreement, Curry acknowledged that he understood if he violated the terms of the agreement the case would be placed back on the court docket for a bench trial. By agreeing to the diversion, Curry waived his right to a jury trial.

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