Wilkinson's jail term on hold

Chief files notice of appeal


Sidney Police Chief B.J. wilkinson

A 30-day jail term handed down last week to Sidney Police Chief B.J. Wilkinson is on hold after a $500 appeal bond was posted.

Wilkinson was sentenced last Friday to jail after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing government operations.

In an e-mailed statement to The Sidney Sun-Telegraph, Sidney City Manager Gary Person said Wilkinson is on leave from his position as police chief.

"Chief Wilkinson has filed an appeal on the sentence, and the City will have no further response while any action is pending in district court. Currently, he is on administrative leave," the statement read.

Person added that the leave is paid.

On Monday, Wilkinson posted the appeal bond, delaying the sentence ordered by 12th District County Court Judge Paul Wess. A notice of appeal was filed by Wilkinson's lawyer, Thomas Sonntag, the next day. That document indicates he intends to appeal a court-issued order.

While Wess had ordered Wilkinson to begin serving his jail term on Aug. 3 at the Cheyenne County Jail, the sentence will be suspended until the appeal process concludes.

During the appeal, both Sonntag and special prosecutor Doug Warner will each have an opportunity to submit a supporting brief. Following the submission of the briefs, the attorneys will then be allowed to submit rebuttals. A district court judge will then make a ruling.

Cheyenne County District Court Judge Derek Weimer is listed as the presiding judge on court documents. However, in Wilkinson's initial hearings in Cheyenne County Court, Wess was specially appointed as the judge to eliminate any potential conflict of interest.

Following the district court's ruling on the appeal, the sentencing could further be appealed to the Nebraska Court of Appeals and ultimately the Nebraska Supreme Court.

The case against Wilkinson stems from an incident that occurred 1 1/2 years ago. According to court testimony, Sidney Police Officer Tim Craig responded to a city residence on Jan. 29, 2014.

As a result of his investigation, Craig issued a citation to a high-ranking city official, who was involved in an incident outside a home belonging to a former girlfriend. However, the citation and an incident report were never forwarded to the Cheyenne County Attorney's Office.

In a subsequent Nebraska State Patrol investigation, Wilkinson admitted to removing the citation for political reasons. The chief never passed along the file to the county attorney.


Reader Comments

guest01 writes:

Yeah, we definately need to discourage officials acting like Kings. When you have special justice (deals, off the record resolutions)for friends and cronies, society can have no confidence in the justice system.


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