New plea agreement offered in Irish case
HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — A new plea agreement is in the works in the Brigid Irish case.
Irish was back in District Court on Wednesday, Sept. 2 ,for a scheduled arraignment before Judge Mary Hoak. During her appearance Irish’s public defender, Chris Hamsher, informed Judge Hoak a new plea agreement has been offered that he is working to fully review.
Hamsher requested a continuance from Judge Hoak, which was set for Sept. 28 at 4:15 p.m.
No details of the new plea agreement were discussed in court Wednesday. The details of the agreement are not open public records unless the court accepts them. All negotiations between the district attorney’s office and public defenders are closed to the public as well.
The court itself is also not a party to the negotiations. During the proceedings Wednesday Judge Hoak reiterated several times that she is not privy to the negotiations or details of a proposed agreement until they are presented to the court.
A different plea agreement was previously presented to the court in July. Judge Hoak officially denied that plea agreement on July 31.
That agreement called for Irish to pay a restitution amount totaling approximately $431,000, spending 32 years on supervised probation and an additional 400 useful public service hours. After hearing the plea agreement presented in July Judge Hoak informed the parties she wanted to hear from the victim in the case, Grand County government.
Hoak requested some form of formal communication informing the court of the county’s stance on the issue. She specifically cited her desire to know what was more important to the county, restitution or incarceration.
The Grand County Board of County Commissioners, the official representatives of Grand County government, submitted a letter that was received by the court on Sept. 1. During the court proceedings Wednesday, District Attorney Brett Barkey requested the court order the letter sealed for court proceedings, citing the need for plea negotiations to be conducted in private.
His request was seconded by the attorney for Grand County, Alan Hassler. Irish’s public Ddefender, Hamsher, also agreed to the request. Judge Hoak said she felt sealing the letter was necessary for the plea negotiation process but continued saying, “I wish to unseal it after negotiations are completed.”
Irish is accused of misappropriating more than $600,000 in Grand County Building Department funds while working as an administrative assistant in that office. She first began working for the Building Department in 2001. The funds were first discovered missing in October 2013. Irish was arrested and charged in May 2014.
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