Ex-carrier gets probation for tossing mail

Rick CarrollAspen, CO Colorado

A former postal carrier who threw away nearly 1,500 items of mail intended for Aspen Village residents has been sentenced to one year of probation as part of a plea agreement.Glenwood Springs resident Vickie Ann Walker pleaded guilty to “obstruction of mail,” a federal misdemeanor, on Feb. 23. Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland gave Walker one year of unsupervised probation. Walker had faced a maximum term of no more than six months imprisonment and a fine no higher than $5,000. But the plea agreement stated that “the United States Sentencing Guidelines do not apply” because Walker pleaded guilty.”The parties believe the sentencing range resulting from the proposed agreement is appropriate,” the plea agreement said, adding that “the defendant has no criminal history.”Walker was fired from her contract delivery job in June after allegations surfaced that she had been trashing mail. She was not a full-time postal carrier. The Aspen post office had hired Walker to deliver mail to Aspen Village, a neighborhood of some 150 residences in the Old Snowmass area.Authorities learned about Walker after Aspen Village resident Ned Carter discovered 150 pieces of dumped mail. Further investigation by U.S. postal inspectors determined that from Dec. 29, 2005, to June 22, 2006, Walker had tossed 1,436 items of mail, including 91 first-class mailings, according to court documents.Walker admitted she had thrown away mail but said she did not intend to toss first-class pieces, according to court papers. “[Walker] stated that many of the mail boxes in the Aspen Village area had become full of mail because the addresses had not been regularly retrieving their mail from their mail boxes,” the plea agreement said. “The defendant admitted that she threw away standard and bulk mail but indicated that she did not intentionally throw away items of first class mail.”She acknowledged that the mail that had been thrown away by her should have been returned to the post office. When shown the items of first class mail that had been discovered in the trash can, she stated that she had not thrown the first class away knowingly. The defendant stated that the first class letters ‘just got mixed in,’ that she did not do it in purpose.”Walker, court papers say, also threw away some college books intended for delivery. Walker could not be reached for comment last week.Rick Carroll can be reached