CHURCH HILL — A mail carrier who received a Title 40 pretrial diversion for theft of mail last week in Hawkins County Sessions Court will not face federal charges, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Former Church Hill mail carrier Carolyn Elise Derrick, 39, 106 Messick Ave., Church Hill, received a suspended six month jail sentences and was ordered to pay restitution for stealing a $100 gift card from a letter she delivered prior to Christmas. Police obtained surveillance video from Wal-Mart of Derrick using the gift card and later reportedly found 40 to 50 pieces of mail stuffed under the seat of her vehicle.
She was charged with misdemeanor theft by Church Hill police in January.
Although mail tampering or theft can also be prosecuted as a federal crime, that won’t be happening in this case.
Dan Mihalko, a spokesman with the Inspector General’s Office, said Friday that Agent Beth Hendren, who worked with Church Hill police on this case, unsuccessfully sought federal prosecution of Derrick. The Title 40 pretrial diversion received by Derrick in state court last week means that if she stays out of trouble for the duration of her suspended sentence, her criminal record will be expunged.
“She (Hendren) advised that she really worked hard to try to get the case up to the federal prosecution threshold, but wasn’t able to do it based on either the dollar amount or the volume,” Mihalko said. “She did go through extensive efforts to get federal prosecution, but the U.S. attorney did decline, so that’s why it went state.”
Derrick resigned from her mail carrier position shortly after her arrest.
Her explanation to police for the crime reportedly was that she found the gift card and couldn’t determine which envelope it came from, so she spent it.
Mihalko characterized the crime as “a betrayal of public trust.”
“We obviously don’t have any control over the sentencing,” Mihalko said. “We do the investigation, and whatever the court decides or whatever the judge decides, that’s their decision.”
He added, “In our mind it’s certainly not much of a deterrent for somebody in the future doing it.”