Public Safety

Judge dismisses charges against Cedar Rapids man accused of interfering with train operations

Offender will enter pretrial diversion program

Randy Thompson
Randy Thompson

CEDAR RAPIDS — Last month a federal judge dismissed charges against a Cedar Rapids man who was accused of interfering with radio transmissions for train operations, which will allow the man to enter a pretrial diversion program.

Randy W. Thompson, 56, charged with interfering with dispatchers or other people while they were involved in railroad operationslast year, will now be under the supervision of the probation office for a period of time and subject to various conditions, similar to probation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt said a person deemed appropriate for the program isn’t convicted of a crime and if he/she completes the period of supervision with no violations, the person won’t be convicted of the crime in the future. 

Morfitt, who filed motion asking the court to dismiss the charge, declined to explain why he asked for dismissal or why Thompson was chosen for the pretrial diversion program.  

Last September, U.S. Chief Magistrate C.J. Williams found there was probable cause for the charge that accused Thompson of making unauthorized radio transmissions over the railroad’s emergency communications lines that interfered with employees directing trains and could have resulted in a collision on the tracks.

According to the complaint, Thompson also made racial slurs and threats toward Union Pacific Railroad employees.

Williams at that hearing ordered Thompson to have a mental evaluation and follow any recommended treatment program.  

According to the Office of The United States Attorneys, all information obtained in making the decision to divert an offender into a pretrial diversion program is confidential. Upon determining eligibility for the program, a federal prosecutor should refer the case along with the investigative agent's report to either a pretrial services officer or probation officer for a recommendation on the offender’s suitability for supervision, according to the pretrial diversion criteria.

The offender also must acknowledge responsibility for his or her behavior, but isn’t asked to admit guilt, according to the pretrial diversion criteria. The period of supervision is not to exceed 18 months, but may be reduced.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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