Gets one year probation, community service
After watching her former supervisor, Michelle Zadra, face the same charges against her last month and lose, former Gunnison County sheriff’s sergeant Melissa Rogers is taking a plea deal.
Rogers, like Zadra, was charged with first-degree perjury, conspiracy to commit perjury, first-degree official misconduct and false reporting to authorities after a Colorado Bureau of Investigation probe into illegal activities at the jail late last year.
Rogers and Zadra had both allegedly taken part in listening to privileged attorney/client phone calls using the jail’s phone monitoring system, and then lied to investigators about it.
Zadra turned down a plea deal to face a three-day jury trial that ended in May. The jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding the former jail captain guilty of nine felony counts of perjury and three additional misdemeanors, including official misconduct. Perjury is a Class 4 felony that can carry a sentence of four to 12 years in a state prison.
But Rogers didn’t take the same approach to her own jury trial, which had been set for the end of June. Instead, she opted to take an offer extended by the district attorney’s office to plead guilty to official misconduct in exchange for having the remaining charges against her dropped.
District attorney Myrl Serra doesn’t think the Zadra and Rogers cases should have been treated the same and feels the outcomes of each case follows the level of blame.
“Ms. Rogers pled guilty to the original offer extended. Ms. Zadra turned down a similar offer and was convicted at trial on 11 counts,” Serra said. “The two defendants are and were not similarly situated and the disposition of Ms. Rogers’ case reflects her level of culpability in this matter.”
Rogers will serve one year of supervised probation and 48 hours of community service, and will pay the court costs she has accrued.
Zadra will be sentenced on June 9.