A former court investigator pleaded no contest to one count of perjury Wednesday in Del Norte Superior Court. She is accused of claiming to have credentials she did not possess when testifying under oath in August 2016.
Carol Susan Minx, 72, entered her no contest plea before visiting Judge Charles H. Ervin of Sierra County, waiving her right to a preliminary hearing.
In addition to serving as a court investigator, Minx served as executive director for Del Norte’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program from 2003 to April 2011. Minx was also interim director of Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods just before the charter school closed in December 2014.
According to Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla, Minx was hired as a court investigator in August 2011. While offering testimony under oath as an expert witness on Aug. 23, 2016 and Aug. 24, 2016, Minx stated she had a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a PhD, according to Padilla.
According to District Attorney Katherine Micks, Minx had been called as an expert witness in a child custody case. However after her testimony, it was discovered that Minx didn’t possess a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or a PhD “from the university she claimed she did,” Micks said.
Minx had also provided documents, claiming they were diplomas, Micks said. However they turned out to not be valid, according to Micks.
The Del Norte County District Attorney’s office initially charged Minx with two counts of perjury. However since she was testifying during the same proceeding in 2016, the DA’s office dismissed the second count in exchange for Minx’s plea, Micks said.
Minx’s attorney, Jim Fallman, said by entering a no contest plea, the defendant isn’t admitting that she “actually did the acts necessarily the way they are alleged by the DA.”
“They are accepting a plea anyway because if they went to trial and a jury believed the DA, they could get them a worse punishment,” Fallman said, citing the 1970 Supreme Court case North Carolina v. Alford. “An innocent person could plead guilty under North Carolina v. Alford. While she’s not admitting the facts stated by the DA are true, it’s merely a plea because of evidentiary problems and she could face a worse sentence if the jury believed the DA’s side of it.”
According to Ervin, Minx could serve up to four years in prison and be required to pay a restitution fine of up to $10,000. Minx would also be liable for any civil restitution if there are any victims, Ervin said.
Minx wasn’t involved with any criminal proceedings of the court, according to Micks.
Minx is scheduled to be sentenced July 12, according to Ervin.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .