By Sarah Pridgeon
Ex-Hulett police officer Brice R. Tucker is seeking a reduction on his prison sentence for two counts of sexual battery involving contact with a child and one of sexual assault in the third degree. Tucker has been incarcerated at Wyoming Honor Farm, Riverton, since his 2012 trial.
According to arguments from his attorney, Nicholas H. Carter of Gillette, Brice has applied himself diligently to his rehabilitation, having served almost exactly one year as a “model inmate” and completed certifications during that time in such courses as Victim’s Awareness.
Tucker has also furthered his education and gained substantial introspection during his incarceration, says his attorney. In a letter to the judge, Tucker claims to have taken responsibility for his actions and realized that the apparent consent of his victims did not mean he was innocent of causing harm.
“In a very delusional way, I had also convinced myself that my interactions with my victims were actually helping me to deal with the problems in my life at the time,” Tucker explains in the letter. “I realize now that, while I did not want or intend to hurt anyone, by giving in to my ego and self indulgences that is exactly what I was doing.”
Tucker claims that therapy has helped him understand the consequences of his actions and that he wishes never to “cause harm to another person again” and concentrate instead on his marriage and duties as a father. He is now, he says, able to identify his triggers and avoid them.
Tucker, says his attorney, has favorable employment opportunities if released, with a guaranteed job. While his case was pending, he earned an Associates of Applied Science degree in Machine Tool Technology from North Wyoming Community College.
He also has “substantial ties to the community,” according to his attorney, and support from members of his family. His appeal was supported by letters from family members and friends, as well as an official from the Hulett school.
In their letters, his supporters point to his attentive use of counseling to improve his marriage and the hardship his incarceration is causing for his family. Several express the opinion that everyone makes bad decisions but Tucker has redeeming qualities as a husband, father and citizen and has worked hard to improve himself.
The attorney also maintains that Tucker changed his plea to guilty, which absolved the state from going to trial and his victims from having to testify. He was sentenced to prison contrary to this plea agreement.
“Despite this outcome, the defendant has not been sullen or angry or embittered, but rather has taken the time since sentencing to fully apply himself toward his rehabilitation,” says Carter.
The attorney further suggests that the decision to impose a prison sentence was in part intended to send a message to others in positions of authority and that this has been achieved, asking the judge to now consider another core purpose of sentencing: rehabilitation.
Tucker was originally sentenced to a prison term of five to seven years for one felony count of sexual assault in the third degree and two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery. The felony charge stemmed from an incident in which he was accused of making a sexual advance toward a victim on the school bus he was driving. The misdemeanors involved sexual relations with two separate victims, aged 15 and 17, in Tucker’s patrol car.
The court awaits a response to the appeal from the County Attorney’s Office and will then pass the case to the judge for determination.