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Karen Scullin reporting Eyewitness News first reported last week that a supervising court clerk is under investigation, after large numbers of criminal cases mysteriously disappeared from the books. Now, there's evidence the same thing happened in Park City, where the clerk was transferred a year ago.
And KSL and the Deseret News have come up with a glimpse into the types of hardened criminals who benefitted from the dismissed cases.
Most of the cases mysteriously disappeared while the clerk was at Matheson courthouse here in Salt Lake, but now, there's an internal review of the cases both at Matheson and Summit County Courthouses.
If a supervising clerk took justice into her own hands and illegally dismissed hundreds of felony cases, why did she do it?
A Park City clerk who worked with the accused employee told KSL and the Deseret News she believes the accused clerk was "following orders," that court personnel had been told to "clean house" of old cases that had been stored away in boxes. She said, "others knew what was going on."
And other 3rd District Court sources told KSL the employee might have been trying to help the court "look good" by clearing out the old cases...that the courts were overwhelmed ....and there was pressure to justify the numbers.
But while the dismissed cases may be just numbers to some people, under the scheme it appears hundreds of alleged criminals have avoided justice by having their cases illegally closed.
Some of the cases in question include:
Scott Mason: charged with possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The case was eventually, and apparently illegally, dismissed. In the months following, he was arrested for numerous crimes, including numerous weapons violations, illegal drugs, forgery, and stolen property.
David Andrew Christensen had his three charges of prescription forgery dismissed. He went on to be arrested for domestic violence and violating a protective order numerous times.
David Ray Hymas was charged with drug posession, and his case was mysteriously closed. In the following years he was arrested for assault, burglary, operating a meth lab, and forgery.
And Jerry Robert Petty faced numerous charges including felony drug posession, vehicle burglary, and theft. His case was kicked out of the system on October 26th 2000. On that same day he was arrested on an outstanding warrant for aggravated robbery, theft, and for being in posession of a stolen vehicle. He's now in federal prison
Altogether, sources familiar with the case suspect there could be hundreds of cases that have been dismissed.
An internal investigation is looking into why checks and balances in the system failed to work. And a criminal investigation by the FBI and the District Attorney's office is underway, to see if any laws were broken. Charges are expected to be filed in a couple of weeks.