Former Delavan clerk to face felony charges

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Kevin Hoffman
Saturday, November 19, 2011
— A Walworth County judge determined Friday there is enough evidence to proceed with felony charges against a former Delavan municipal clerk that police say wasn’t reporting driving citations to the state.

Henry Johnson, 57, Sharon, was bound over for trial on a single count of felony failing to perform duties as a public official. Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo said additional charges could be filed after authorities say Johnson neglected to report dozens of offenses to the state Department of Transportation.

Johnson was fired in March after the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles said he wasn’t reporting drunken driving offenses to the state. Delavan Police Capt. James Hansen testified that Johnson was warned several times that he wasn’t properly submitting the forms to the state.

Donohoo said state statutes require clerks to file information with the state within five days of conviction. However, Hansen said officers began to find inconsistencies with several records.

Elkhorn police secretary Theresa Boeger testified about one case where a man was arrested for drunken driving and told officers he was previously convicted in 2007. Boeger couldn’t find a record for the arrest in the system.

Boeger said she then called Johnson and learned he wasn’t reporting offenses until citations were paid.

According to the complaint, “piles of paper everywhere and envelopes with checks and cash, which appeared to be payments for citations,” were found in Johnson’s office.

An accounting firm later confirmed a significant amount of money was not collected for the citations, according to the complaint.

Not reporting citations is a misdemeanor, but Donohoo pursued felony charges because she felt Johnson’s actions were more than oversight. Hansen said he reminded Johnson of his duties on at least four occasions, and Donohoo also presented a letter from District Attorney Phillip Koss explaining the process to Johnson.

“The more times something happens, it cannot be said to be an accident,” she said. “That gives a reasonable inference that it was done intentionally.”

Defense attorney Jenelle Glasbrenner argued the reporting error wasn’t Johnson’s fault. She said there could have been an oversight at the DOT, which would explain why the offenses weren’t showing up on driving records.

Glasbrenner asked Judge John Race to dismiss the felony charge, arguing that no testimony supported Donohoo’s claim that Johnson intentionally neglected his duties.

Johnson is scheduled for arraignment Jan. 5.

Last updated: 6:53 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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