For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: August 14, 2007

Caribou County Prosecuting Attorney Charged with Misuse of Public Moneys

(Boise) – The Attorney General’s Office filed a criminal complaint yesterday charging Caribou County Prosecuting Attorney S. Criss James with 11 felony counts of misuse of public moneys. Judge William Woodland, in the Sixth Judicial District, issued a summons ordering James to appear in court on Monday, August 20, 2007, in Caribou County.

The complaint alleges that, between March 25, 2006, and July 2, 2007, James accepted 15 checks from defendants in criminal cases in return for his dismissal of the charges against those defendants. The complaint also alleges that James deposited those public moneys into his private account at Advantage Plus Federal Credit Union or had them paid to the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Fund. The checks ranged from $62 to $400 and total $3,812.

Idaho Code § 31-2604(5) states that it is the duty of the county prosecuting attorney, on the first Monday of each month, “to settle with the auditor, and pay over all money collected or received by him during the preceding month, belonging to the county or state, to the county treasurer, taking his receipt therefor, and to file, on the first Monday of October in each year, in the office of the auditor of his county, an account verified by his affidavit, of all money received by him during the preceding year, by virtue of his office, for fines, forfeitures, penalties or costs, specifying the name of each person from whom he receives the same, the amount received from each, and the cause for which the same was paid.”

In November of 2006, the Caribou County Commissioners petitioned the Sixth District Court to appoint the Attorney General to serve as special prosecutor to investigate allegations against James.

Idaho Code § 18-5701 provides that persons convicted of misuse of public moneys are disqualified from holding any office in Idaho, must be sentenced to a minimum of 1 year in prison and may be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden noted that a complaint is merely an allegation and that a defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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