Criminal Justice

Ex-judge takes plea in Oxycodone case

After resigning from office last week, a now-former Utah justice court judge has taken a plea in a drug-possession case.

Virginia Ward, 46, who had served on the Salt Lake City bench since 2002, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count and could face up to 15 years when she is sentenced later this year, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

She had been on administrative leave after her arrest in March, and her case was heard by Tooele County Judge Robert Adkins to avoid a conflict with the local court system.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency said Ward on multiple occasions received packages at a mailing center retail operation that contained hundreds of Oxycodone pills.

Ward is a graduate of the University of Utah’s law school and worked as a Salt Lake County prosecutor before taking the bench. Although the article doesn’t include any comment from Ward or her lawyer, court documents say she told DEA agents she had been taking Oxycodone to treat neck pain.

Now that Ward has taken a plea, the Judicial Conduct Commission is likely to pursue a legal ethics case, the article notes.

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