A former political candidate and Ozark Chamber of Commerce employee was sentenced to jail time in Greene County and awaits further court proceedings in Christian County.
A Greene County judge revoked the probation of Jonica Hope, 39, of Nixa on a 2015 conviction of fraudulent use of a credit or debit device, a Class D felony. At a hearing Oct. 12, Hope admitted to violating terms of her probation. She was given a new term of probation, ordered to serve 120 of shock incarceration in the Greene County jail, sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to complete a program called Pathways to Change.
Hope then appeared in court in Ozark on Oct. 19. Her case in Christian County has been continued to Dec. 21, when her case will have a status hearing.
Hope is accused of making a false statement on filing documents when she filed to run for the position of committeewoman on the Christian County Republic Central Committee representing the Lincoln precinct. Hope’s filing led to her being indicted for committing the unclassified felony of making a false sworn statement, affidavit or statement of candidacy — a Class I election offense.
Under Missouri law, “false swearing” is an offense committed when a person falsely signs election and candidacy documentation “knowing the statements therein are untrue.”
Hope is accused of making a false statement on filing documents related to her prior felony conviction in Greene County.
At the time Hope was charged, Christian County Clerk Kay Brown explained that candidates for Republican or Democratic Party positions declare candidacy with her office in a manner very similar to how a candidate for any other county office would file.
“The form that they complete is the same one that all candidates complete, and there are several questions on there based on statutes, and they have to initial next to them that they have done this or not done that, and then they sign at the bottom,” Brown said in May 2018.
The form, Brown said, includes a question about whether or not the candidate has ever been convicted of a felony or plead guilty to a felony charge.
Probation officials have filed seven probation violations against Hope from April 2016 to May 2018. Greene County officials issued a warrant for Hope’s arrest May 2.
Hope’s Christian County case has been passed through six different judges.
Christian County judges Jennifer Growcock, Laura Johnson, Doug Bacon and Larry Luna all recused themselves from presiding over Hope’s Christian County case. On May 11, online court records show the Missouri Supreme Court assigned Circuit Judge Tony Williams of Taney County to hear Hope’s case. Williams then granted a motion for change of judge on Aug. 31, and the Supreme Court assigned Taney County Judge Eric Eighmy to preside on Sept. 14.