Teresa Bassett, 59, and Leah Carson, 32, both pleaded guilty Monday in connection with a list of 1,300 supposed illegal immigrants that was released to law enforcement agencies and the public. Both women worked for the Department of Workforce Services when they allegedly compiled the list. Carson entered a guilty plea in connection with a plea agreement, and stated that she “made a mistake” and apologized. Bassett, on the other hand, entered an Alford plea and was not apologetic, but instead maintained her innocence.
An Alford plea or Alford guilty plea allows the defendant to plea guilty and receive the benefits of a plea agreement but maintain their innocence. In other words by submitting an Alford plea, Bassett is stating that she did not do the acts she is charged with but she admits that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove to a court beyond a reasonable doubt that she is guilty. The term Alford plea comes from the 1970 US Supreme Court Case North Carolina v. Alford, in which Henry Alford was charged with first degree murder. Under state law if Alford pleaded guilty he would be sentenced to life imprisonment, but the prosecution had offered a plea agreement with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. The Court allowed Alford to state that he did not commit the crime but was pleading guilty simply to accept the plea agreement. Some contend that an Alford agreement is simply a form of a guilty plea while others say that it is a type of a no contest plea. In reality it has aspects of both. Like a no contest plea an Alford plea states that you believe the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict you; however, the plea is treated more like a guilty plea in that it counts as a strike, in a three strikes system, and can be used against you if you are later charged with another crime.
In connection with the plea agreements Carson received a $440 fine, one year of probation, and she had her 90 day jail sentence suspended. Bassett was sentenced to 250 hours of community service, 36 months of probation, and her two concurrent zero-to-five year prison terms were suspended. Any violation of probation for either defendant would reinstate their jail or prison sentence and for Bassett would also include more than $5,000 in fines.
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Because of the plea agreements both women were able to avoid incarceration which would normally be associated with these crimes. If you have been charged with any crime, make sure you get the best outcome available to you by calling a Utah criminal defense attorney from Salt Lake based Salcido Law Firm. The lawyers at Salcido Law Firm are experienced criminal defenders that will explore all possible options in your case. Call 801.413.1753 for a free criminal defense consultation.