- The case against a Forest County woman accusing her of releasing confidential information as a county jail worker will move forward after a preliminary hearing Monday.
59-year-old Jeanie Pitts faces seven felonies after the Forest County court accepted an amended criminal complaint with one dropped charge and one lowered charge.
Prosecutors believe she used her job at the Forest County Jail to give out confidential information to an informant. That informant had told investigators in September 2014 that Pitts had, in the past, provided him with the names of three other confidential informants cooperating with law enforcement.
The complaint also says the informant later asked Pitts to do a background check on a person the informant wanted to do criminal business with.
It continues saying Pitts used a sheriff's office's system to look up the license plate information for the informant and former inmate, who she befriended at her time at the jail. After running the plates, the complaint indicates Richard Pitts, Jeanie's husband, told the informant that "she", indicating Jeanie, said the person connected to the plates was someone who turned people in and should be avoided.
"Again this was done in an attempt to corroborate information about Jeanie Pitts previously providing information in the past which is confidential in nature," said an undercover Division of Criminal Investigation Investigator.
Lawyers also accuse Pitts and her husband Richard of buying two pieces of stolen equipment for a significantly cheaper value. The Bobcat and John Deere Gator were valued together at nearly $40,000.
Pitts' Defense Attorney Dean Strang argued the investigation's informant wasn't a reliable source. That was because of his other investigations and his criminal past. However, the Forest County Circuit Judge Leon Stenz didn't agree.
"It would be nice if those that alleged to have committed a crime to do so in the presence of the clergy or law enforcement, but generally they don't," Stenz said. "Generally they pick somebody to get involve in a criminal conspiracy who is a criminal."
Pitt's lawyer argued that some charges should be dismissed because of outrageous government conduct. Strang argued the forces enabled a longtime felon working as a cooperating informant and accomplices not just to entrap Pitts, but to steal and conceal expensive items from innocent third persons and perhaps commit other crimes with government complicity.
Stenz ultimately said there wasn't enough to support that claim, but Strang tried to get some counts lowered.
"I won't belabor it, but I do think that at most, the state has shown an attempt to commit misconduct in public office," Strang said referring to a specific count.
Richard Pitts and Melvin Donek also face charges for their role in the alleged crimes. Jeanie Pitts is due in court for an arraignment on April 8th