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Felony deceptive writings, tampering with public records charges dismissed against Jennifer Johns

A judge signed an order of dismissal on Tuesday of Class C felony deceptive writings and Class C felony tampering with public records charges against Jennifer Johns. A jury trial that had been scheduled for Feb. 9 was canceled.

Johns, a current Surrey city council member and current Velva city auditor, had been accused of changing the amounts owed on her water bill and on another person’s water bill on multiple occasions between May 2016 and February 2018, while she was serving as the deputy auditor in Surrey.

“… There has been additional evidence that has come in since the initial reports,” wrote Ward County Assistant State’s Attorney Leah Viste in a motion to dismiss the charges. “The new evidence suggests that there may have been authorization for (Johns) to handle the water meter readings in the manner in which she did. Ultimately, there does not appear to be an intent to gain anything of pecuniary value at the expense of the city by (Johns). Based on all of the information, it is appropriate to dismiss this action.”

Judge Gary Lee signed an order of dismissal without prejudice.

There had apparently been some animosity expressed against Johns by City of Surrey employees. Patrick Waters, who had served as her defense attorney, had asserted last summer that the Surrey police chief had posted a copy of the police affidavit and the criminal complaint in the case on his Facebook page along with a comment that Johns had not been arrested or required to post bond on two felony charges and he hoped the same privilege was afforded to all nonviolent offenders. Waters also said some current and former City of Surrey employees “have gone out of their way to publicly shame, disparage, demean, and humiliate (Johns) in public.”

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