OGDEN, Utah (News4Utah) Weber County prosecutors admit they don’t know exactly how many criminal cases were tainted by an evidence technician accused of stealing and using meth on the job.
While prosecutors consider a plea deal, at least one Ogden defense attorney is left to find out what it means for her clients.
The Weber County Attorney told News4Utah he isn’t exactly sure of the exact number of cases were affected, but says about a dozen were dismissed and another dozen compromised.
Candice Follum admitted to stealing and eating meth submitted into evidence while working as a technician for Weber County since 2015, according to charging documents.
At least 46 evidence packages were allegedly altered or destroyed.
“That is why people are convicted. It’s based on the evidence, right,” said defense attorney Emily Swenson.
Swenson believes evidence from cases involving at least two of her clients was compromised by Follum. Had she known, it may have changed the outcome.
“The point is though, when my clients plead guilty, that guilty plea is predicated on the belief that they have that still in evidence or it is there,” Swenson said.
Weber County Attorney Chris Allred admits his office did not keep track of the 24 or so cases he said were dismissed or compromised because of Follum’s alleged actions. At the time of dismissal, they were currently being prosecuted.
“It’s really disappointing. You work hard to build a strong case and evidence is taken out from underneath you,” Allred said.
Allred doesn’t believe convicted cases were compromised, but finding out would be difficult.
“We don’t have a way to go back and really track down those cases by imputing Candy Follum’s name because she’s not a defendant or a party to the case and it doesn’t come up that way. It’s difficult to track,” Allred said.
Allred said notices went out to defense attorneys alerting them of potential problems, but Swenson said she was not contacted.
“It’s shocking to me that they have this problem and they’re not disclosing it, not telling us about it,” Swenson said.
Follum faces 40 counts of altering public records and drug possession. She’s due in court at the end of October.