Ted L. Cannon could be spending more time behind bars.

Third District Judge Leonard H. Russon ruled Tuesday that Cannon, who spent eight years as the Salt Lake County Attorney, realizes - "better than most" - that the court still has jurisdiction over his case.While Cannon's attorneys contended that he has completed his probation for his 1987 misdemeanor convictions and can't be disciplined by the court for alleged probation violations, Russon ruled otherwise.

If Russon decided at a Jan. 20 hearing that Cannon did violate his probation, he could be fined, have his probation extended or spend up to five months in jail.

After being indicted by the 1986 Salt Lake County Grand Jury, Cannon was found guilty in April 1987 of misdemeanor charges of defamation and official misconduct. In May 1987, he pleaded no contest to reduced assault charges and attempted misuse of public funds as a part of a plea bargain.

More than a year ago, Russon fined Cannon more than $2,000 and imposed a six-month jail sentence. The sentence was suspended on condition that Cannon pay the fines, stay out of trouble and serve 30 days in jail.

Cannon served 23 days in the Coalville jail. But Adult Probation and Parole officials are accusing Cannon of refusing to repay approximately $2,000 in fines and refusing to meet with his probation officers.

Representing Cannon, attorney John Clark argued Tuesday that Cannon's probation expired in December 1987. Because his probation has expired, AP&P cannot ask him to repay his fines, Clark said.

But Larry Keller, who prosecuted Cannon in 1987, insisted that Cannon extended his probation period when he signed extension papers on July 5. Cannon was seeking more time to repay the fines.

It is hypocritical of Cannon to acknowledge the court's jurisdiction in seeking a continuance of probation, and then assert the court doesn't have jurisdiction to avoid allegations of probation violation, Keller said.

Cannon signed the extension papers, Clark conceded, but it was a mistake. "Once someone's probation is over, it can't be continued," he said.

Cannon, who, the judge said, "was once the county's chief prosecutor," understood exactly what he was doing when he signed the extension papers. By his own admission, Cannon indicated he is still on probation.

"There is no question this court still has jurisdiction," said Russon.

Calling probation "a gift" that is often abused by probationers, the judge told Cannon that he absolutely intended him to fulfill a year's probation and to pay the $2,000 fine.

"I certainly intended to give Cannon a chance not to go to jail . . . He would certainly understand the law better than many lawyers in the county."

On Jan. 10 attorneys will argue whether Cannon actually did violate his probation.

In an earlier Deseret News interview, Cannon said he has not paid the fines because he has not had a stable income. He has a private law practice, but says he recently lost his home due to lack of funds.

Cannon blames the problem with the probation officer on AP&P turnover, saying he has had five different officers.