Plea Agreement by Price City Mayor Denied by Judge

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Disorderly conduct charges against Price City Mayor Joe Piccolo were once again brought to light Thursday afternoon during a Carbon County Justice Court hearing. During the hearing, Emery County Justice Court Judge Steven L. Stream reviewed information and was briefed by Assistant Carbon County Attorney John Schindler about previous court actions.

According to Schindler, a plea agreement was accepted by the justice court regarding the disorderly conduct charge. Piccolo paid a $100 court fee and agreed to follow certain requirements over the course of the next year. However, since that time, several parties involved in the Dec. 3 incident that spurred the legal proceedings came forward and voiced their concerns over the agreement.

Represented by a Utah Crime Victims spokesperson, those involved in the case feel that the plea agreement is a minor punishment and they would like to see the case reviewed. Judge Stream agreed and assigned Schindler with the task of combing over the case to determine whether further charges or actions need to be taken. The ruling also omits the plea previously accepted.

Schindler explained that all reports regarding the matter will be reviewed once again and, if additional information is needed, he will request that accordingly. “I will weigh the information as I do every case and decide if justice is there,” he explained. “I have several obligations. One is to the (legal) system, two is to the victims, three is the citizens and finally the defendant. This case is sad for the ladies involved. I don’t always get a complete agreement when we reach a plea, but I thought everyone was good to move forward. Apparently, that’s not the case and I will begin reviewing information again.”

Piccolo, who was not present at Thursday’s justice court hearing, was represented by David Allred. He said the mayor will stand behind a not guilty plea.

Court proceedings began following an investigation regarding a disturbance call at the USU Eastern Cosmetology Department on Dec. 3. At that time, Piccolo confronted several instructors regarding his daughter’s education and treatment by teachers within the department.

Piccolo admitted that a closed-door discussion became heated. “I lost my emotions over a situation that had been building over a long time frame,” he stated. “I am guilty of trying my own patience. I deny the fact that I threatened anyone or pounded on a desk.”

Brad Asay, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a teacher’s union which supports the USU Eastern faculty, disagreed. According to Asay, documentation from those present during the Dec. 3 incident stated that Piccolo was upset over a grade which his daughter received on a project. They also claimed that the mayor slammed a portfolio onto a desk, gritted his teeth, yelled profanities and threatened to “gut the place.”

With two different sides to the story, Schindler will carefully look over statements from both sides along with police reports provided by USU Eastern Campus Police. “Sgt. Lynn Archuletta did an excellent job on his reports as well as handling the entire situation,” Schindler stated. “He defused the initial situation and provided follow up reports when necessary. He needs to be recognized for his fine work.”

At this time, it is unknown how long further review of the case will take or if additional charges may be filed.

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