Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Saga of Benton County Political Justice

Benton County Coroner Kimberly Scott resigned Tuesday as part of plea negotiations in a criminal case against her that included three felonies -- two for drug possession and one for obtaining a controlled substance by false pretenses or theft. She also faces two misdemeanors -- falsifying business records and possessing a controlled substance -- and an enhancement penalty for committing the crimes while a public official. The case is set for trial next week.

Scott was arrested 11 months ago, on August 18th, then was reelected as a Republican without opposition in November 2006. In September she had stopped doing her job, agreeing not to attend death scenes while the charges were pending. During this period, she continued to draw an annual salary of $41,062 from county funds without doing anything. Not bad work, if you can get it.

We'll soon learn the full details of what appears to be a plea bargain in the works. It will be interesting to see whether Judge Tom Keith hands her a sentence as severe as the 90 days in jail he gave State Trooper Larry Norman for shooting and killing an unarmed innocent man.

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