ESCALANTE – Kevin Worlton, a former police chief due to recently being fired from the Escalante City Police Department, has been charged by the Utah Attorney General’s Office for falsifying police reports. Now, Worlton is reportedly refusing to testify in 10 pending felony drug cases on the grounds that he may incriminate himself.
“If Mr. Worlton, who was the lead officer in these cases refuses to testify, I have no choice but to dismiss them,” Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington said, as quoted in a press release from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office issued Tuesday.
In response to a subpoena to appear as a witness in the 10 pending felony drug cases in Garfield County, Worlton filed an objection on the grounds that he may incriminate himself. According to the press release:
Mr. Worlton has filed an objection to this subpoena citing the following: Kevin Worlton, has received a subpoena in this case, and objects to the subpoena pursuant to Rule 45(e)(3)(D) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Utah Code Annotated, 1953 as amended, Section 77-1-6(2)(c), the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 12 of the Constitution of the State of Utah because appearance and testimony in this case may require Mr. Worlton to violate his rights and privileges against self-incrimination. If compelled to testify, Mr. Worlton will invoke his rights and privileges as here instated and therefore requests that he not be compelled to testify.
Worlton currently faces two second-degree felony charges for making false or inconsistent material statements and one class B misdemeanor charge for official neglect or misconduct.
The felony charges stem from incidents in December 2014 in which Worlton allegedly made false statements on official police documents in connection with five drug-related arrests.
In December 2014, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Utah Attorney General’s Office supporting the charges against Worlton, Worlton made false statements when drafting probable cause statements for search warrants and warrantless arrest documents in five drug-related cases.
“The false statements in the probable cause statement for the warrants and the warrantless arrest documents are material because they are capable of affecting the outcome of an official proceeding,” the statement said.
One of the “false or inconsistent material statement” charges stems from Worlton allegedly stating in an official document that he had read a woman her Miranda rights when he had not. According to the statement from the Attorney General’s Office, a recording of Worlton’s interaction with the woman proved he had not given her a Miranda warning. In one probable cause statement filed to obtain a warrant to draw the woman’s blood and collect her urine, Worlton said she had not been given a Miranda warning, writing that she was “not in custody and was free to leave the residence,” according to the statement. In a probable cause statement filed to obtain a warrant to search another home, he referenced the conversation with the woman, writing that she had been given a Miranda warning.
In another incident, Worlton allegedly falsified a statement and attributed it to a suspect, stating she had named a marijuana dealer when she had not. A video recording of his interaction with the suspect showed she had not named anyone but had said she “had no clue,” according to the statement.
“This false statement is material because it was the difference between a third degree felony distribution of marijuana charge and a class B misdemeanor possession or use of marijuana charge against the suspect,” the statement from the Attorney General’s Office said.
The misdemeanor charge against Worlton relates to him not keeping his reports organized and usable, according to the statement. In the December 2014 arrests of six people for charges ranging from first-degree felonies to class B misdemeanors, Worlton waited as long as six days after suspects had already pleaded guilty to file his police reports supporting their arrests. Worlton also did not file returns of service on search warrants he had executed, according to the statement.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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