Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reason #492 why I don't trust lawyers

My first job of any real consequence was at the District Attorney's Office of the Eighth Judicial District of Colorado, which encompasses Larimer and Jackson Counties. I worked in discovery, which for the layman meant the files and evidence room. I would put paperwork in the proper case files, prepare evidence to distribute to defense attorneys, and help with the dockets of the various prosecutors.

It certainly made for interesting work - much more interesting than bagging groceries at Steele's. The DA was Stu VanMeveren, who was pretty legendary and, actually, mythical. I feel as though he was a hologram. When he made appearances everything just sort of stopped and you were left wondering if you actually just seen the legend or if you were dreaming it up. He was a decent person, you know, for a Republican.

In any case, I bring all of this up because the DA's office was recently in the news. in 1987, a woman was murdered in Fort Collins. It was very devastating to the community because there are few acts of such violence in that area. In 1999, a 27-year old man, Timothy Masters, was convicted of committing the crime (meaning he committed the crime as a teenager) and sentenced to life in prison. (Here is a link to all the stories in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, in case you have the time to get into it. It's very interesting - apparently one of the leads was not followed because the suspect was a social friend of one of the prosecutors - see page 2.)

A few years ago, Masters was released because it was ruled that the prosecution had withheld evidence, and, apparently, made up evidence. The prosecutors who lead the case are now District Judges, mind you. (Judge Gilmore and Judge Blair.) Now, an attorney for Judge Gilmore is arguing that "prosecutors who manufacture evidence can't be held liable because making up evidence doesn't hurt anyone until it's used in court - and prosecutors are entirely immune from liability for actions there." Furthermore, "Gilmore and Blair's attorneys argue that since the two were acting in their official capacities, they cannot be held liable for what happened to Masters, in part because there's no specific law barring prosecutors from manufacturing evidence."

How assinine is that?

This leads me to believe that they must be in real trouble if that is their defense. I would have loved to have been a fly in the wall when that strategy was settled on. I think if I was defending Gilmore and Blair and I had a strategy session where some nitwit brought up that defense, I would have flung them out the window like they do to this guy for an equally assinine suggestion.

I suppose this just goes to show you that the tentacles of corruption and evil go pretty deep, even into the most peaceful of communities. By the way, Governor Ritter recently appointed another former prosecutor with connections to the case to the District Court. Great timing, Governor.

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