- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Scores of friends and relatives of former Albany County Attorney Richard Bohling have written letters asking a district judge to sentence him to probation and not impose prison time for his felony convictions.

A jury last fall convicted Bohling of four felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and one misdemeanor count of official misconduct.

Prosecutors with the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office charged Bohling with using county funds to purchase cameras and other items for personal use. They said he brought the items back to his county office from his home only after investigators with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation had a county commissioner place a call to him purporting to alert him about a pending audit.

Bohling’s legal team has argued that his prosecution was malicious. They charge that agents with DCI and other law enforcement agencies wanted to see him gone from office because he refused to endorse questionable investigation tactics.

Bohling’s lawyers had argued that he purchased high-end camera gear because the photographs taken by law enforcement officers often were insufficient to secure convictions in cases including those involving domestic abuse. They argued that Bohling, who served as county attorney from 2002 through 2014, took the cameras and other items home because he worked around the clock and often handled cases there.

District Judge John Perry of Gillette had scheduled a sentencing hearing for Bohling for Wednesday in Laramie but canceled it on Tuesday because of recent heavy snows. A worker at the District Court Clerk’s Office said Tuesday that the hearing may be rescheduled for later this month.

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office prosecuted Bohling. The office has filed a sentencing memorandum with Perry but it doesn’t reveal whether the state will request prison time. Senior Assistant AG Christyne Martens, one of the prosecutors against Bohling, declined comment.

The Attorney General’s Office will ask Perry to require Bohling to pay restitution as well as pay to cover costs of the prosecution and witness fees, its memorandum states.

Bohling could face up to 10 years in prison on each of the felony convictions. Bohling’s lawyers have filed letters from 51 friends and relatives, all urging Perry to sentence him to probation and not impose any prison time.

Bohling’s lawyers state that he already faces the loss of his law license and his civil rights, including the ability to own firearms.

“Nothing is more deterrent than the taking away of a lawyer’s license to practice law,” they stated.

Among those writing on behalf of Bohling was Casper District Attorney Mike Blonigen, a veteran prosecutor. Blonigen stated that Bohling was respected by his peers, a fact reflected by his election as president of the Wyoming County and Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

“I hope that when you sentence Richard you consider that he was a respected public servant who did his job well, despite often difficult conditions,” Blonigen wrote.

Many of Bohling’s relatives, including his parents Jim and Phyllis Bohling, also wrote letters.

“Please Judge Perry, we pray you will use your power to allow our son a sentence of probation so he can rebuild his life with his wife, his children, and grandchildren as well as the rest of his family,” his parents wrote.

The Albany County Commissioners issued a statement in December condemning Bohling’s actions and stating he deserved at least three to five years in prison, the Laramie Boomerang has reported.

“This has been extremely disruptive to the citizens of the County and many of the County employees,” Commission Chairman Tim Sullivan and Commissioners Tim Chesnut and Heber Richardson stated in their letter. “All of the citizens of Albany County that have spoken to us are very distressed by the behavior of the former County Attorney obtaining cameras, lens, computer equipment for his personal use,” the newspaper reported.

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