Multiple Charges Against Former Court Employee Could Be Dismissed Via Diversion Program

Lynelle Gae [Photo courtesy Cochise County Sheriff's Office]

A former Cochise County court employee charged in 10 criminal cases involving a pattern of alleged harassment against her next door neighbor in Bisbee will see all charges dismissed if she satisfactorily completes a six-month diversion program, a judge has ruled.

Lynelle Gae, 60, was cited or arrested 10 times between May and August 2020 on charges of criminal trespass, disorderly criminal damage, and interference with a court order, all connected to an ongoing dispute with her neighbor. She stood before Justice of the Peace Janus Poppe earlier this month to enter conditional no-contest pleas in two of the cases.

A no-contest plea means the defendant does not admit guilt but does not challenge the criminal charge. If the plea is accepted then it results in a conviction same as pleading guilty or being found guilty as trial, a legal concept Gae is familiar with as she was a judicial administrative assistant with the Cochise County Superior Court from January 2019 until her resignation in July 2020.

Gae’s no-contest pleas, however, will never be formally accepted by Poppe if Gae completes a diversion program offered by the Cochise County Attorney’s Office. Instead, all 10 cases will be dismissed with prejudice, meaning Gae could not be prosecuted in the future for those alleged acts.

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But if Gae fails the diversion program then she must appear in court Aug. 2 for the prosecution to resume and her pleas -a Class 1 and a Class 2 misdemeanor- to be formally entered. Gae would then face up to 10 months in jail and/or up to a $3,200 fine.

In the meantime, Gae has been ordered back to Poppe’s court March 26 for a restitution hearing related to alleged damage caused by her actions. In addition, she must appear in Cochise County Superior Court on March 4 in a $250,000 lawsuit she initiated against the administrator of a Facebook group about Cochise County courts, crime, and politics.

Gae’s lawsuit alleges the administrator, David M. Morgan, violated state law in June 2020 by publishing an image of her in a state of nudity without her consent and with the intent to cause her harm. The image was a video clip showing Gae lifting her nightgown several times in the direction of her neighbor’s surveillance camera.

The neighbor, Yolanda Moots, showed the video clip to the Bisbee Police Department and others to support her claim that Gae was engaging in harassing conduct. Gae has also initiated two lawsuit against Moots.