OREM The squabble between a grandmother and the city of Orem over a dead lawn has ended, but both sides have a very different idea about who won.
Betty Perry, 70, was arrested last July after she refused to give Orem police officer Jim Flygare her name so she could be ticketed for her dead lawn.
She was headed to trial Monday on misdemeanor charges until a last-minute deal was reached Friday.
California attorney Gloria Allred, who got approval to participate in the now-canceled trial, called the plea deal a surrender by Orem.
"Rather than face Ms. Perry and me in court and be forced to explain why they have wasted so much taxpayer money on this ridiculous prosecution, the city attorney has put up the white flag of surrender," she wrote in a statement released Monday. "To him I say congratulations. You have saved yourself from public humiliation in a losing case."
However, Orem City Attorney Paul Johnson strongly contested that allegation.
"We were ready, our witnesses were ready," he said. "Gloria Allred didn't worry us too much. We prosecute for a living, and we think we're pretty good at it. We don't care who the attorneys on the other side were."
Johnson said the Orem City Attorney's Office agreed to the plea deal because it was the best solution for everyone involved.
However, Perry has a slightly different take on the outcome.
"I'm too distraught and upset about the fact that I wouldn't have gotten a fair trial in the city of Orem," she told the Deseret Morning News in a phone conversation Monday. "They were out to get me."
It was that fear of a potentially unfair jury that Perry said led her to plead no contest to a disorderly conduct infraction a charge lower than a misdemeanor without the possibility of jail time pay a $100 fine and promise not to sue the city.
A statement and a Web site created by Perry's son, www.lawnlady.info/, tell Perry's side of the story a side her family feels hasn't fully been told.
"In the end the city prosecutor, who was only doing his job, got what he wanted. Ms. Perry feels morally defeated," according to the statement. The officer, Flygare, was cleared of all wrongdoing by a state Department of Public Safety review. "Everyone deserves to know what really happened since Ms. Perry didn't get her day in court."
But Perry doesn't want to go to court anymore. She just wants to move on, literally. Her home at 1568 S. 800 East in Orem is now for sale."I have family and grandchildren," Perry said. "I don't want them exposed to any more of this nonsense."
E-mail: [email protected]