Krone asks for early release from probation

Attorney General’s Office objects

Posted 12/13/18

Former state lawmaker Sam Krone — on supervised probation for stealing more than $9,600 from a local lawyer’s group — is asking a judge to let him off probation a couple years …

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Krone asks for early release from probation

Attorney General’s Office objects


Former state lawmaker Sam Krone — on supervised probation for stealing more than $9,600 from a local lawyer’s group — is asking a judge to let him off probation a couple years early.

In his first of three years of supervised probation, Krone “has been highly successful ... and a model probationer,” according to a court filing from his defense attorney, Charles Pelkey of Laramie. In requesting that Krone be discharged from probation now, Pelkey said that his client “has attained rehabilitation.”

Last month’s filing also says that Krone, of Cody, would like to “pursue employment opportunities that are currently unavailable due to his probationary status.”

Prosecutors from the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, however, are objecting to an early release.

Deputy Attorney General Christyne Martens wrote in a Wednesday filing that Krone’s original sentence was appropriate.

“Because Krone was not a physical danger to the community, incapacitation through incarceration was not necessary,” Martens wrote. “However, the sentence needed to ensure time for his rehabilitation, be severe enough to deter others from similar conduct and to punish him for his conduct. The original sentence struck a balance that could achieve these goals.”

Martens also said that, while Krone has been compliant with the terms of his probation, she plans to introduce testimony from his probation agent “that Krone does not seem to fully understand the gravity of his actions or fully demonstrate remorse for them.”

Presiding District Court Judge Marvin Tyler, of Pinedale, has scheduled a Tuesday teleconference on Krone’s request.

It was in October 2017 that Judge Tyler ordered Krone to serve 15 days in jail, 20 days of house arrest, 240 hours of community service and three years of supervised probation. That was for stealing more than $9,600 from the Park County Bar Association between 2010 and 2013.

Krone pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor counts of theft for the crimes. However, as part of a deal with the Attorney General’s Office, the prosecution of the felony charge was put on hold; if Krone successfully completes his probation, the felony will be dismissed.

At last year’s sentencing hearing, Judge Tyler called the deal “exceedingly lenient” but also fair.

Martens noted those comments in Wednesday’s filing.

“For a person in a position of trust to abuse that trust by stealing nearly $10,000, to be treated leniently in the first instance, and then to receive further leniency after just one year does not deter others from similar conduct,” the prosecutor wrote.

The attorney general’s office had originally asked Judge Tyler to impose a sentence of five years of supervised probation, while Pelkey, the defense attorney, had requested three years of unsupervised probation.

In October 2017, Tyler went between the two recommendations by ordering three years of supervised probation, though he told Krone that “you may be discharged from probation early if there [are] appropriate recommendations.”

One of the conditions of Krone’s probation requires him to write biannual updates to the judge about how his life and probation are going.

In his latest letter, submitted to the court in October, Krone said things were going well and thanked Judge Tyler for “the privilege of probation.”

“I have learned so much from this circumstance and believe it has made me a better person,” Krone wrote. “I am dedicated to improving every day, contributing to my community and being productive. I am making the most of this opportunity and will continue to do so.”

While on probation, Krone must also obey the law, receive permission before leaving the state, obey his probation agent, maintain a job and stay away from alcohol and bars, among other conditions.

He fully paid back the money he stole plus court assessments and fees immediately after his sentencing last year, a total of $10,478.71.

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case because Krone is a former deputy Park County attorney. He was fired from his post in early 2016 after sending a series of belittling texts to a woman his office was prosecuting for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

A couple months later, the Park County Bar Association discovered that money had gone missing from the group’s bank account during Krone’s tenure as treasurer. The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation concluded that Krone had stolen $9,633.17. Krone was charged in July 2016, in the midst of his bid for re-election to the state House of Representatives; he wound up losing in a landslide to Rep. Scott Court in the Republican primary.

Krone initially predicted he would be “exonerated” of the criminal charges against him, but he later took the plea deal, apologizing at his sentencing hearing for his actions. He said the misappropriated funds were the result of being a “sloppy bookkeeper.”

In May, the Wyoming Supreme Court disbarred Krone for his crimes.