Neighborhood Watched 

Saratoga Springs residents tread lightly to avoid the long arm of the law.

Page 3 of 3

On Feb. 10, 2011, Saratoga Prosecutor Jarvis stood before a three-man and three-woman jury and Judge Thomas Low in American Fork 4th District Court and told them Craig Wayman was a man who “believes he is entitled, who thinks he is above the law, who bullies his way through things.”

The charges stemmed from allegations predating Feb. 2009, some of which had already been used by Saratoga in previous trials. “It seems like [they’re] just piling on charges,” attorney Stewart says. It might be argued, he says, that the more Wayman fought Saratoga Springs, “the more trouble he incurred.”

Jarvis explained the trial revolved around incidents between November 2008 and February 2009 where Wayman had ignored three protective orders while dropping off or picking up the boys he had with Bird at their former home. Two of the incidents involved pieces of papers the city claimed were “subliminal threats” against Bird. She found them in the diaper bag the estranged couple exchanged, along with the crayons, diapers and other material that went back and forth.

Bird was the state’s first witness. She told the jury she had relinquished parental rights over her and Wayman’s children several weeks before the trial. The children had already been living with Wayman for almost nine months by that point, he says. Wayman was a good father, Bird said, and giving up her kids “was the only way I see of getting [him] out of my life.” She accused him of having “a whole network of people” who had been surreptitiously harassing her by “sabotaging” her car, or driving by her house in a diesel truck, the same type of vehicle as Wayman once owned. No evidence was offered to substantiate her claims.

click to enlarge drawing.jpg
As the trial went on, it only got stranger. Jarvis showed the jury three scribbled pencil drawings. “I believe they are a form of communication,” Champagne told the court.

Wayman likes to spend time doodling with his boys, he says. One drawing was the children’s, he told the court, and one was partly his, since it featured his rendering of a bi-plane with German swastika marks on the wings that he had once owned. In court documents, Bird suggested “the Nazi plane” was bombing a girl, which she stated as “threatening to me.” She also told Champagne, Wayman has “cloaked” a message to her in her children’s drawings. “It is a pattern, it is concerning to me … bottom line is, it scared me.”

The third drawing was Wayman’s own creation—a man sitting in front of a computer with a cartoon bubble of dollar signs above his head. In detailed pages of description and analysis of the drawings, Detective Champagne linked the dollar signs with threats Wayman had made to sue the city and Champagne, among others. Jarvis brought up again to a new jury that Wayman had allegedly threatened to kill Champagne, according to an unnamed source.

When Wayman took the stand, Jarvis remarked excitedly, “Game on,” when she got to cross-examine him. Along with pursuing the violations, she also attacked Wayman for his pursuit of the city and her office and attempted to cast him as a terrorist by raising an e-mail Wayman had written to Saratoga’s city manager, in which he sarcastically noted that while trying to understand why the city refused to answer his concerns, he had been told that Hitler “had good intentions, too.” The judge had her move on.

Jarvis spent part of her closing reviewing Wayman’s battles with the city. “We as city employees have heard all these threats [to sue], he threatened Detective Champagne, me, the city.”

In Stewart’s closing, he pointed out that Wayman wasn’t charged until months after the violations and that he was trying to effectuate custody exchanges both sides had agreed to. It was clear, he noted, that in the officers’ minds, “there was some doubt,” as to whether Wayman had violated the orders or not, since he had not been arrested the first three times.

The jury found Wayman not guilty. Several jurors, Stewart recalls, “felt the case didn’t add up. That it seemed like minor violations and they felt they didn’t have the full story.”

Wayman and Edward Peltekian plan to file a federal class-action lawsuit against the city—if they can find 30 other people who have similar claims to their own to file. Wayman says he wants Stoney gone, along with Jarvis and Champagne. “Unseating a judge is like unseating a king, frankly,” he says.

Judge Stoney questions the honesty of the controversy that has sprung up around him. “I can make mistakes, say something that I shouldn’t,” he admits. “But that didn’t happen with these folks. They were each given more than ample opportunity to ensure their rights were protected and their cases were fairly tried.”

Jarvis doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, either, given that Saratoga recently appointed her city attorney as well as prosecutor. She is also not finished with Elaine Damron-Peltekian, the mother who was jailed for recording a justice court proceeding and is appealing her sentence. Jarvis plans to fight both the appeal, in part, on constitutional grounds, and also Ryan Peltekian’s successful appeal of his misdemeanor guilty pleas. In addition, she plans to challenge the decision on Wayman’s recent court triumph.

Legislative initiatives are attempting to resolve some of the issues that Wayman and other Saratoga Springs residents have raised about defendants’ rights in justice courts. Along with Rep. Ken Sumsion’s House Bill 74, which seeks to give smaller municipalities a direct vote on their judges, two bills, HB494 and SB318, are seeking to put audio recorders into justice courts.

In the meantime, Wayman’s battles with Saratoga Springs and his ex-wife have left him “financially devastated,” and at 51 years old, he now finds himself having to raise 4- and 5-year-old boys with no secure financial future. But he takes heart from his recent victory. Saratoga Springs may have started this fight, but he is determined to finish it. “I’m going to win this battle,” he says. “Damn right I am.”

Pin It


More by Stephen Dark

Latest in Cover Story

  • Witches Be Like...

    City Weekly’s 2015 Guide to Local Frights and Fun
    • Sep 30, 2015
  • Fall TV Preview 2015

    There's too many shows! Read this and save your eyeballs
    • Sep 23, 2015
  • Circumcision Decision

    Male circumcision rates in Utah decline as parents reconsider the procedure
    • Sep 16, 2015
  • More »

Comments (87)

Showing 1-25 of 87

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 87

Add a comment

© 2015 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation