OGDEN — Candice Follum, a former evidence technician for the Weber County Sheriff's Office accused of eating and consuming methamphetamine while working in the sheriff's evidence locker, pleaded guilty Tuesday to all charges levied against her by the state.
Follum pleaded guilty to 40 charges, consisting of 20 counts of destroying or altering public records, a third-degree felony, and 20 counts of possession or use of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor.
She appeared in court Tuesday afternoon alongside her attorney, Kristopher Greenwood.
Greenwood said his client's plea would resolve all legal matters against Follum, and outlined the terms of her plea deal.
The deal recommends that Follum spend a year in jail, which would consist of six months in full-time jail custody and six months on a work release program that would allow her to leave jail to work during the day and return to jail at night, according to Deputy Weber County Attorney Branden Miles.
Follum would serve her jail time at the Box Elder County Jail to avoid a conflict of interest, Miles said.
Follum will have her sentencing hearing on Dec. 18.
Miles told members of the media that the resolution still means Follum will serve a significant amount of time incarcerated. He said that all sides agreed that the plea agreement was an appropriate resolution.
Greenwood said after the hearing that he and prosecutors discussed the possible resolutions with the case, and the prosecution provided alternatives to prison time.
Greenwood said the Utah Legislature is moving away from incarceration regarding drug crimes, and called Follum's case a "unique situation" involving substance abuse. He said the interests of all the parties were met in the plea deal, and the end result was a balanced approach to resolve the case.
On Dec. 8, 2017, employees of the sheriff's office found Follum "under the influence" of methamphetamine while on duty in the evidence room, according to charging documents. She was suspended and later terminated from the department.
During an interview with an investigator from the county attorney's office, Follum admitted that she had become addicted to meth while working for the sheriff's office, the indictment says.
She told investigators she had been stealing drugs from evidence for roughly three years.
Follum said she used the drugs "every other day" and said she ingested the meth by eating it, according to charging documents.
Follum told investigators that she would determine which drugs to steal by looking up cases on the court system "to determine if the person was sentenced," charging documents state. She allegedly told investigators that she would take the meth if she thought the case was closed and didn't think "anyone would come looking for the drugs."
At least 12 criminal cases apparently tainted in the Weber County Sheriff’s Office's evidence room resulted in convictions, according to previous Standard-Examiner reporting.
Investigators flagged at least 59 sheriff’s office incident reports during an internal affairs probe launched after Follum was fired in January. Of those, the Standard-Examiner obtained 48 reports with an open records request.
At least 33 cases had drugs that apparently went missing in the evidence room, while four others involved mishandled rape kits. Still other case reports detailed instances of missing money and jewelry, mishandled guns, and angry complaints from evidence owners who were turned away by the technician when they attempted to retrieve their property.