OC Attorney Pleads Guilty On Attempt to Frame School Volunteer - New York News

OC Attorney Pleads Guilty On Attempt to Frame School Volunteer

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SANTA ANA (FOX 11/CNS) - An Orange County attorney who was charged, along with her husband, with trying to frame a volunteer at their son's school for drug use pleaded guilty today to false imprisonment and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 40, was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

Orange County Superior Court Judge David Hoffer technically sentenced Easter to a year in jail, but stayed 245 days of the term. If Easter does not finish her community service with a nonprofit that aids the disabled, she could face the rest of the time in jail, Hoffer told the defendant.

Easter is a registered attorney, but her status is listed as "inactive" on the State Bar of California's website.

As part of the plea bargain, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Duff dismissed felony charges of conspiracy to procure the false arrest and charging of the volunteer and conspiracy to false report a crime.

Easter could have faced up to three years in prison if convicted at trial. She was ordered to report to jail on Dec. 27.

"It's my hope Ms. Easter turns things around," Hoffer said.

Her husband, attorney Kent Wycliffe Easter, is expected to go to trial on related charges next week.

Rob Marcereau, an attorney who represents the victim, praised prosecutors for their "hard work" and said his client was pleased with the plea deal.

"We're pleased Jill Easter has been found guilty of the most serious felony count she was charged with," Marcereau said. "Up until now she has claimed innocence."

The victim and her family were also "pleased the terms of the sentence require her to spend" time behind bars, "as opposed to home confinement or ankle monitoring," Marcereau said.

Given prison overcrowding and the nature of the offense, there was no guarantee Jill Easter would have had to spend any time behind bars even if she had been convicted at trial, Marcereau said.

"Another thing that both me and my clients are pleased with is the court issuing a restraining order against Jill Easter, precluding her from any further stalking or harassing of (the victim) or her family," Marcereau said.

"Up until the arrest there was a history of harassment."

The victim has filed a civil lawsuit against the defendants, but it is on hold until the criminal complaints are resolved, Marcereau said. The lawsuit alleges false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

"This guilty order and sentencing is definitely the first step in the healing process (for the victim) and her family," Marcereau said.

Easter's attorney, Paul Meyer, said the plea bargain was a "very fair resolution."

The couple were indicted a year ago, accused of planting prescription pills, marijuana and a pot pipe in the car of a parent volunteer at their son's school.

They were charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to procure the false arrest and charging of the volunteer, false imprisonment and conspiracy to falsely report a crime.

The Easters were accused of conspiring to put painkillers -- Vicodin and Percocet -- and some cannabis and a pipe behind the driver's seat of the victim's vehicle, Duff said. They were angry at the woman over how she was supervising their son at an elementary school, he alleged.

The couple made cell phone calls and sent text messages to one another as Kent Easter drove to the woman's home to plant the drugs in her unlocked vehicle just after midnight on Feb. 16, 2011, Duff alleged.

Kent Easter allegedly called Irvine police about 1:15 p.m. that same day, gave a fake name and phone number and said he was a concerned parent who saw the woman's car being driven erratically at the elementary school.

Irvine police stopped the woman, who agreed to let police search her car and home, Duff said. Officers started to doubt the drugs belonged to the woman, and the investigation led to the Easters, Duff said.

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