Former court clerk sentenced to 60 days, suspended |

Former court clerk sentenced to 60 days, suspended

by Sheila Gardner

Former Douglas County District Court Senior Clerk Diana Daley was sentenced to a suspended 60-day jail term and ordered to pay nearly $2,000 in fines and restitution after she admitted taking money from the county.

Daley, 48, pleaded no contest March 18 to committing a violation as a public officer, a misdemeanor. In a plea bargain with the District Attorney’s office, a second charge was dropped in exchange for Daley’s plea which is the same as an admission of guilt in terms of sentencing.

The DA’s office had requested sentencing be deferred for five years, giving Daley the opportunity to have the conviction dropped and the case sealed if she commits no more crimes.

But East Fork Justice of the Peace Jim EnEarl refused.

“I understand the concern that you want at the end of five years to withdraw the plea. There has been emotional trauma on both sides; it’s hard to describe the emotional trauma that comes in working relationships when something like this happens,” EnEarl said at her sentencing Wednesday. “But it doesn’t seem right to me that someone in this position can withdraw their plea and end up with no conviction in five years.”

EnEarl cited an earlier, similar case involving a former county employee convicted of taking $1,400 worth of county equipment. That employee was sentenced to probation.

“I understand there is a lot of duress,” he said. “But this seems fair to me. This seems just to me that she receive a conviction for this.”

Daley worked in the District Court clerk’s office for more than 12 years. At her arraignment, she told EnEarl she took the money because she was facing marital and financial problems. She made no comment at her sentencing.

n Suspended sentence. EnEarl sentenced Daley to 60 days in Douglas County Jail, suspended for one year.

In addition to restitution for the money, Daley must pay $500 to the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices to cover costs of the investigation. Daley admitted taking $1,437, which she has repaid from her accrued vacation and sick leave. EnEarl ordered the $500 be paid by April 12.

She has been terminated by the county and cannot seek re-employment in a public agency for five years. She was paid $51,300 a year in wages and benefits.

Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed, who initially objected to the deferred conviction, said Wednesday the sentence was appropriate.

“I think what the judge did was right, not just for the office, but for all the honest employees in the county,” Reed said. “I am relieved that it is over.”

Daley’s sentencing was the second in two weeks involving Reed’s ex-employees.

Last week, former East Fork Justice Court Clerk Mary Theresa Fry was sentenced to probation for the theft of $17,700, a felony. Those funds also have been repaid.

She is serving 30 days in Douglas County Jail.