Brad Clingman found guilty on all counts
by Joy Ufford
August 24, 2013
The trial of Laramie resident Bradley D. Clingman, a former Sublette County waste management supervisor as well as a former Albany County road and bridge supervisor and fire warden, began in Pinedale’s Ninth District Court on Tuesday, August 20th and concluded on Friday, August 23rd with a verdict of guilty on all counts.
Clingman was accused of keeping $5,133.77 belonging to Sublette County, misusing a county vehicle and fuel and failing to deliver proceeds due to the county. The charges stemmed from Clingman allegedly continuing a recycling incentive program he created with Marbleton landfill employees, after county commissioners told him to stop the unofficial program, records show.
Clingman faced seven felonies – three of larceny by bailee and four of failure or refusal to pay over property - as well as a misdemeanor of wrongful appropriation of public property and a misdemeanor of larceny by bailee, according to Ninth District Court records. He pleaded not guilty to all charges on March 2.
On August 1, Ninth District Judge Marv Tyler denied Clingman’s motion to dismiss either the current felony charges or the misdemeanor charges on grounds of violating "double-jeopardy" rights if the same evidence is used for both sets of charges.
Sublette County Attorney Neal Stelting argued that trying Clingman for multiple offenses would not violate his constitutional protections.
In his order, Judge Tyler noted, "The Court does not impose multiple punishments for the same offense."
A second August 1 court order restricted the jury from hearing evidence of Clingman’s past criminal history in Albany County.
In 2005, then fire-warden Clingman was charged with one felony of writing fraudulent checks for $19,145; he later accepted a plea agreement in Second District Court, court records show.
There he pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of wrongful appropriation of public property; the felony charge was dismissed. He served 30 days in jail, one year of probation and 80 hours of community service, records show.
Judge Tyler wrote that the prosecution’s use of Wyoming Rules of Evidence 404 (b) to introduce that criminal history "would be unfairly prejudicial if it tempts the jury to decide the case on an improper basis."
Further, the judge wrote, he had to balance "if the 404(b) evidence distracts the jury from the central question of the current charges … versus … the probative value of the evidence."
Stelting had argued the prior convictions could be used to prove his more recent "charged conduct was not the result of a mistake or accident."
Judge Tyler also ordered the "caveat" that the prosecution might introduce the "404(b)" information for other reasons with prior notice to the court and defense, so its use can be discussed on the record, without the jury present.
Sublette County officials said they were aware of Clingman’s past history for misappropriating public funds in Albany County.
"He had several local references and the (county commission board) was fully aware of Clingman’s issues in Albany County. They discussed them with him, before they decided to give him a second chance," Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford said in February.
Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman also said, "He convinced us that he had learned his lesson and we hired him. He had several references that reinforced that he would be a good choice."
Bousman, Lankford and other county officials, employees and residents were among those listed as potential witnesses in Clingman’s trial.