Assistant district attorney: Avoiding trial would be ideal in Wall case

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— Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall may not have to go to criminal trial for charges of driving under the influence and prohibited use of a weapon.

Even as her investigation into the case continues, Karen Romeo, assistant district attorney for Colorado's Fifth Judicial District, said a plea bargain still is possible, and perhaps preferable.

"I'm not even sure we're going to go to trial," Romeo said. "I would hope not. I think both sides would like to see it resolved. Trials bring an uncertain result."

Routt County is in the 14th Judicial District, but citing a conflict of interest, the local DA's Office handed over the case to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert in the Fifth Judicial District. Hurlbert assigned the case to Romeo. Wall is scheduled to appear in Routt County Court for the first time at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Prosecutors continue to investigate the charges against Wall, which resulted from an Oct. 27 traffic stop near U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. According to the Colorado State Patrol, Wall was pulled over in his unmarked county vehicle for failing to dim his headlights. Trooper Brett Hilling cited him for that, in addition to the DUI and related weapons charge.

Wall refused roadside sobriety tests, and he has maintained that he is innocent of the charges. He was not arrested, but was released to a Sheriff's Office deputy who drove Wall and his girlfriend home that night.

Romeo said she has been "inundated" by people who claim to have information related to the incident. In addition to officers and others present during Wall's traffic stop, Romeo said her office has interviewed people who attended the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association event at Sidney Peak Ranch, from which Wall was returning when he was pulled over.

"There were a number of, obviously, witnesses to it," Romeo said.

Alcohol was served at the Chamber event. Wall has said he was not drunk. He has refused to say whether he had anything to drink that night. Wall's lawyer, Steamboat attorney Ron Smith, declined to comment about the case Thursday.

Romeo said she has been in touch with Smith's staff but has yet to directly speak to Smith about the specific terms of a possible plea bargain.

If the case does go to trial, Romeo is adamant that Wall receive a fair one. As such, she refused to answer questions that addressed the specifics of the case.

"The more I say to you in the paper, the less likely (a fair trial) is to happen," Romeo said. "Also, the investigation is not complete."

Also in December, there will be a Colorado Department of Revenue hearing related to Wall's refusal to take a chemical breath test the night of his traffic stop to determine his blood alcohol content. A Breathalyzer test refusal carries a one-year driver's license suspension. The State Patrol issued Wall an affidavit and notice of revocation the night of his traffic stop, but Wall disputed it to the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue granted Wall a temporary license and hearing on the matter.

Chief Hearing Officer Bill Cowles said Wall's hearing, which will be heard over the phone, is scheduled for Dec. 19.

Cowles said the Department of Revenue hearing is completely separate from the criminal trial. A hearing officer will determine whether the State Patrol made a reasonable traffic stop and whether officers had probable cause to request the chemical breath test. If so, the one-year suspension will be upheld. Should Wall be found guilty of DUI in a criminal trial, he would face an additional one-year suspension of his license, and thus faces a potential two-year suspension of his license, Cowles said.

Romeo, speaking in general and not about Wall's case in particular, said breath test refusals can work both ways for prosecutors. On one hand, it means there is less evidence to work with. On the other, the refusal can be portrayed as a sign of guilt.

"There are certainly cases that we do get to argue that to a jury," Romeo said.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

jlkar 6 years, 4 months ago

I think Wall's seen supertroopers one too many times...

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Brian Smith 6 years, 4 months ago

Steamboatresident,

That's funny, I don't care who you are!!

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 4 months ago

resign mr. wall, spare yourself and the state the embarassment of this hideous trial...........

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steamboatresident 6 years, 4 months ago

Everyone pay very close attention... From here on out, when you get pulled over simply refuse the test and ask for a ride home...and possibly a stop at Kum & Go for a delicious slice of pizza with a cold soda.

Thanks Wall for the heads up...

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Gadfly 6 years, 4 months ago

In the Chevy Chase movie "Funny Farm," the small-town police chief has lost his driver's license and has to respond to calls by hopping into the town's one taxi. Life imitates art once again.

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spukomy 6 years, 4 months ago

Prediction; Wall takes a plea, the records are sealed and stored with Billy Kidd's City Market case. The Trooper doesn't call in for the DMV phone hearing and that get's blown out. 879-TAXI is now on Wall's speed-dial.

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autumnwitch 6 years, 4 months ago

"I drank but I wasn't intoxicated", bet the judges have never heard that one before. If his bac wasn't above the limit, why not just take the test? Must have been above, but he wasn't intoxicated...so hmmm....someone who is paid to enforce the laws of our country or makes them doesn't also have to follow them? Do as I say but not as I do? Sounds like a politician. Sounds like the old west sherriffs, fancies himself Wyatt Earp, eh? Bet all those people who had managed to dodge bullets for a very long time, not having any other convictions, who are now riding the bus, wish that they too, had chosen to not take the tests.

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justathought 6 years, 4 months ago

I have a feeling that the outcome of this fiasco will be a slap in the face of the law abiding citizens of routt county. Hopefully this will wake up the "party" voters and the voters that use the "anyone is better" philosophy to elect a buffoon to office. Lord protect us from these kind of voters during the presidential election.

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

drakek,

Many people are given preferential treatment in the local courts. A former judge's girlfriend, for one. It happens all the time, but you don't hear about the cases that are suppressed.

Watcher,

The "uncertain result" is that the DA must take a risk on being able to prove the case AND have a jury that will convict. They don't know how to get convictions around here because they don't have trials.

Also, local LE is notorious for screwing up evidence. In such a small town and county, it's not unusual for those arrested and accused to have friends in LE. Mishandling evidence, "losing" evidence, warrantless searches, etc., are the ways our local LE boys and girls let friends get away with stuff. It's very easy to do, and it happens all the time, and you never hear of an officer being disciplined because of it. Why? Because they do the same for those in charge of LE, justice, and various other "privileged" local bodies with friends in high places.

So, what I'm saying is, yeah, certain people get away with stuff because the cops intentionally take actions that will cause the evidence to be excluded either for illegal search or a broken chain of custody, or it's simply lost and not made available for the investigation and trial.

If you look up the stats, you will see that Colorado has one of the lowest rates of prosecution for public corruption in the United States. The reason for that is not a lack of corruption, but rather, a lack of prosecution by a very corrupt system.

I am betting that this case will be dismissed at the hearing on the grounds of insufficient evidence. At the very least, if the case is bound over to trial, there will be a change of venue due to local publicity, or possibly even a dismissal on the grounds that a fair trial (an oxymoron in this state) cannot be had in Colorado.

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foodchain 6 years, 4 months ago

so says ID: "Many people are given preferential treatment in the local courts. A former judge's girlfriend, for one. It happens all the time, but you don't hear about the cases that are suppressed"

a former judge has a long time girlfriend--a real side dish, if you will. does she get preferential treatment? y/n

hint: is the pope German?

what about former law partners of judges? do they get preferential treamtment?y/n

hint: does a bear sh!t in the woods?

the thing is, who are you going to call when you need a lawyer? if I have to pay someone upwards of 10K up front tohandle my divorce, sue my neighbor or otherwise do my dirty evil bidding, you can bet dollars to dog nuts I am going to call the lawyers who get preferential treatment. everybody knows who they are.

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drakek 6 years, 4 months ago

Wall needs to stand up and take it like a man. Anyone else would have been taken to the slammer, no questions asked. No one else would have been treated this way in Routt Co. Preferrential treatment has already been made. And it is BS. Treat him like everyone else is treated in Routt Co. Throw the book at him and then fire him. Thats the way it works in Routt. NO TOLERENCE. Why for him? I don't get it.

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kusellout 6 years, 4 months ago

All I can say is I can't believe a Sherriff refused a breathalyzer and still has his job. Maybe we should let MADD get word of this :)

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spukomy 6 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't the founder of MADD arrested for DUI a couple years ago?

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merkinwsp 6 years, 4 months ago

re: posted comment by... mTnsmith (anonymous) November 30, 2007 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Steamboatresident,

That's funny, I don't care who you are!!


mTnSmith... I Hear ya cluckin' big chicken" LOL

EXACTLY....btw, wish I knew Mr./Mrs.steamboatresident about 20 years ago.... i'd love to have placed an order for myself, on your next visit to your shrink.

jk...kinda...but, my "knee-jerk" thought as to stmbtres. comment was....HUH, i didn't Know there were any Haliburton partners in town?

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spukomy 6 years, 4 months ago

Still can't find anything on the MADD founder. Nevermind.

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merkinwsp 6 years, 4 months ago

*SORRY stmbtres..... my comment was intended to be directed toward "JUST A THOUGHT"'s comment....(the latter half of comment in particular)

justathought (anonymous) November 30, 2007 at 9:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a feeling that the outcome of this fiasco will be a slap in the face of the law abiding citizens of routt county. ?????Hopefully this will wake up the "party" voters and the voters that use the "anyone is better" philosophy to elect a buffoon to office. Lord protect us from these kind of voters during the presidential election.????

that said stmbtres thanks for the chuckle...vry funny/true

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fish 6 years, 4 months ago

So I am wondering why no one is upset with officer hilling playing fast and loose with the laws that he decides to enforce. This whole event smells to me from the Sheriff's office to the State patrol to the DA's office. And in less you were there, I don't believe the general public will ever know the truth about what occurred.

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dundalk 6 years, 4 months ago

If someone was not guilty, as Wall has been pontificating to, then why would any sane person even begin to entertain a plea?

I need to lose weight, but thank goodness for disgusting and nauseating stories like the above on the jester that is Wall. I have really lost my craving for creme brulee now.

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kingsride 6 years, 4 months ago

Any plea bargain would have to include a guilty plea to an alcohol related offense. If it doesnt it would not be consistent with other cases in this valley. I would also not be opposed to dropping the weapons charge. That is an add on type of charge and there has been no indication the weapon was displayed, or used in any unlawful manner. I suspect he will lose his drivers license for a year for the refusal to take a chemical test. Take the test and fail you lose your license for 3 months. Revoke the consent to take a chemical test which you give when you obtain you license, you lose for a year.

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Watcher 6 years, 4 months ago

"I'm not even sure we're going to go to trial," Romeo said. "I would hope not. I think both sides would like to see it resolved. Trials bring an uncertain result."

Huh? I may be mistaken but I thought a guilty or not guilty verdict WAS a certain result.

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foodchain 6 years, 4 months ago

yo commrade, why was my post removed? I did not write anything that is outside of the obvious.

g.d. censorship.

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foodchain 6 years, 4 months ago

since when is "Porsche" a bad word?

Question: What do you call the place where lawyers do their work?

a) Chick Coop b) Court

The answer is.....b! as in bling bling bling bling.

Fact: When you go to a place called "The Court" you are better off aligned with the royalty than the peasants.

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

foodchain,

Well, the truth is that we all knew that Judge Garrecht ignored federal law in the Don Nord case. We all should have realized that Judge O'Hara spouts how people get off easy on plea bargains, but he's the one who instructed all the local lawyers and DAs to make plea bargains to avoid trials. Both of them were retained by ignorant voters in the last election.

We got the injustice center jammed up our butts by Judge Doucette, to the tune of $18,000,000 WASTED Routt County taxpayer dollars.

After all this crap from the ones who are sworn to enforce the laws laid down by the legislature, I can only surmise that the entire system is compromised, and there is no justice system at work.

So, whether Gary Wall is guilty or not, I don't think it makes any difference. Somebody already knows how this is going to turn out, and it has nothing to do with what's "right" under the law. It's about who owes what to who. I don't think the local system can allow this one to go to trial, because a trial would probably bring out a lot of facts that would not look good for anybody in Routt County.

So, I predict dismissal.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm still trying to figure out why Wall would even want his job let alone show his face in public around Steamboat?

How can we citizens trust/respect the dept when the Sheriff is a law breaking individual?

None of this makes any sense. Best solution is for wall to step down. Why waste and more tax payers money on this case. The guy refused the test for a reason.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 4 months ago

CoNative- Wall doesn't have to care about any of all that now. He's already been elected to the position, so all he as to do now is coast til re-election time, unless someone does something about not keeping him in office.

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little_liza 6 years, 4 months ago

It has been hinted at a few times..... How do we get him out of his position? How manu of you would vote that he should leave?

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foodchain 6 years, 4 months ago

Id, I only signed up for this silly forum to express my total agreement with you and my overall long term enjoyment of your posts.

There is NO WAY this case will go to trial. Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in fairyland.

That being said, I support Wall. Change in the RCSO is great.

You people like to make a big deal out of nothing. And do not come back at me with "oh my...what if he ran over a small child on the road" because I will just reply"KEEP YOUR G.D. KIDZ OUTTA THE STREETS". And wipe that blow off your nose while you are at it, Mrs. Black Pot.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 4 months ago

Since when is drunk driving not a big deal foodchain?

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foodchain 6 years, 4 months ago

CN, um, is that a rhetorical question?

reference: the article about which you are blogging and others related.

Answer: It is not a big deal as of early November 2007. One could also hypothesize that it has never been a big deal to certain segments of the population. Examples: a) those who have never been caught; b) those who have been caught and have the jack to hire the right defense attorney and Gary Wall, Private Investigator.

I concede that to those who have been injured by a drunk driver or otherwise have their lives impacted it is a very big deal.

Anyway, I was just being sarcastic so as to rile you tight arses up.

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stompk 6 years, 4 months ago

The founder of MADD did get a dui not too long ago. I think she lived (or has a house) in Dakota Ridge, and her husband owns Peterbilt.

Anyway, Wall will never be able to prove he wasn't drunk, now will he.

Public opinion, from what I've seen, is he has to go, no matter what happens in the court.

Like I said before, I have nothing against Wall personally, since I don't even know the guy.

But as a police officer, who is allowed to carry a weapon, he hasn't shown proper judgement, imo.

And, he promised in his campaign he would get POST certified.

Can anyone get a straight answer as to whether he followed through on his promise or not?

Can anyone get a straight answer, period?

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toe_cutter 6 years, 4 months ago

At last we see 'Sheriff' Wall showing his true colors. I hope all those poor mis-guided souls who voted for this scofflaw are rueing the day they put a '1' next to his name on the ballot form. JGW - makes you look even better, buddy.

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

foodchain,

I was really looking forward to changes in RCSO myself, and was -- and this is 100% true -- waiting until Wall got his POST certification to file complaints (complete with written evidence from court findings entered in the official records of the Routt County District Court) against several state employees involved in obstruction of justice in the local courts.

Now, I'm waiting to see how this all turns out. Mr. Wall may have been in violation of the law, but as God is my witness, you cannot believe anything you read or hear in this town, including rulings that come out of the local courts, and I don't believe anybody is going to be able to prove that he violated the law. I know of a person who was deliberately targeted by SSPD (they waited outside the VFW for him to come out and drive away), and I'm not convinced they were not involved in getting him drunk while he was inside.

If you go by the stuff posted in "The Record," there must be hundreds of people driving around over the limit for alcohol or drugs who don't happen to have a broken tail light, etc. Wall gets stopped for allegedly failing to dim his headlights. Hey, folks, I forgot to dim mine LAST NIGHT and nobody stopped me. I was talking to my wife and lost track, and hadn't had a thing to drink or taken any kind of drug that might have caused me to miss the fact that my lights were on bright.

Given all the allegations, ire and controversy, I strongly suspect that Mr. Wall was set up for the traffic stop, and something went a little bit wrong. Maybe an honest officer not involved in the plot got in the middle of it by accident.

Don't get me wrong. If Mr. Wall was intoxicated, he was wrong and he deserves to face the same consequences as anyone else. It's just all a little bit too convenient. Much like Billie Joe Vreeman being arrested by a GRAMNET officer who was facing contempt charges from her fiancee, former judge Joel Thompson. Yeah, that was VERY convenient for the officer, don't you think? We know that one was a set up too, so why should be think this is any different.

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justathought 6 years, 4 months ago

id, since you weren't drinking nor doing drugs, HAD you been stopped for not dimming your lights and were asked to take a breath or blood test, what would your answer have been?

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armchairqb 6 years, 4 months ago

Remember all cops come from the masses So it proves they are human. as the saying goes "The masses are a**es" The other golden rule is he who has the gold makes the rules. Some are more privleged then others another rule about small town politics. It's not what you know it's who you know. ( it's all about connections)

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

justa,

I'd have taken the test if I was requested to do so.

Nobody has yet established that Sheriff Wall was properly requested to take a roadside sobriety test. Did I miss that in the quotes from the Pilot? There's a lot of "procedure" required in this process, and part of it is to establish reasonable cause to request a BAC test in the first place. For example, an odor of alcohol without evidence of physical impairment could be due to gargling a shot of Listerine five minutes ago. Is that a crime? Obviously not.

Our laws are based upon a "presumption of good faith," meaning that the people enforcing them are required to act in accordance with the law and the procedures set down for such things as a roadside BAC test. If the officers involved in this incident did not act "in good faith," then there is ample cause to challenge their actions.

Stopping someone for failing to dim their lights is quite a stretch. We don't even know that this occurred. I still think there's a possiblity of a set up, because this is all "too good to be true" for too many people if it's not.

The hearing is today anyway, right? Can't wait to hear the outcome.

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justathought 6 years, 4 months ago

id... these statements were made according to the article "Wall's license in jeopardy" on 11/8/07

[Sheriff Gary Wall's driver's license could be revoked for up to one year for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test Oct. 27 when Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brett Hilling cited him for driving under the influence and a related weapons], [He was issued an affidavit and notice of revocation the night of the stop," State Patrol spokesman Sgt. John Hahn said], [Hahn said the notice was given because Wall refused a chemical breath test to determine his blood-alcohol content.

So yes, you as a law abiding citizen would have taken the test. WHY, would a "law abiding" sheriff refuse it??

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twostroketerror 6 years, 4 months ago

With some 400+ comments and tirades on this subject, whats the point of a trial? He's already been tried and convicted by the people on this site. That said, if this sees the inside of a courtroom, it will be dismissed the 1st day. No evidence means no case, just ask the meth addled truck driver.

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dundalk 6 years, 4 months ago

His refusal can be used against him as evidence.

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

justa,

Thanks. I missed this detail.

I guess the question of proper procedure will be the issue.

I don't mind anybody refusing a test if it's rigged. That's what remains to be seen.

Muskno,

You are right. December 4th. It's on the docket.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/districtii/14th/rdocket.pdf

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dundalk 6 years, 4 months ago

Wall's defense could be this entertaining video. (if this doesn't go through...you tube- brad paisley-celebrity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEPe4fZNf74

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OnTheBusGus 6 years, 4 months ago

Dundalk, that was a funny video!! So true too!! Thanks, now I can laugh a little more as I get back to work!

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

Hey, here's a funny one.

If Wall says one thing, and the arresting officer says another, who is Judge Garrecht going to believe? The POLICE? (Ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . .)

Actually, after seeing the docket and noting that one minute has been devoted to this matter, it will just be a "how do you plead?" and "trial date is set for . . . . "

Then we all get to wait a few more months.

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Ms_E_Bronte 6 years, 4 months ago

Yep--audios reality--Hollywood, here he comes!!!!! Brittney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie--make room for Gary Wall -- LOL!! (P.S. Can Wall sing?)

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dundalk 6 years, 4 months ago

Ain't it the truth, ain't it the truth!

Of course Wall can sing...in D Drunk minor

"I did not consume anything, I did not consume anything" Chorus : I am the law and i win, I am the law and I win!

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justathought 6 years, 4 months ago

Remember the old song "I fought the law and the law won", to bad he's the law.

Id04sp, Judge Garrecht will be dispensing the eeny, meeny, miney, mo theory of justice.

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

Justa,

It's going to be more like, "Eeny, Meeney, Miney, Mo: You should have picked Kris Hammond if you didn't want to blow!"

Hammond got Garrecht to hold federal officers in contempt, after all, over a matter which clearly was controlled by federal law. The only thing we're missing is one more stooge and the sounds of coconuts clacking together. (Wooo woo woo woo woo! Nyuck, nyuck!)

Hey, nah, really, you know, like, none of the stuff these guys do on the bench would tend to harm the dignity of the court (almost got that one out before spewing milk on the screen . . . )

So, who's bringing the Groucho glasses? Clown shoes? Will they all arrive in one tiny car and squirt seltzer on each other during the hearing? Will the clown car have a winch on it?

Maybe they could do an episode where they all go down into the tunnel and find Judge Doucette kayaking from the courthouse to the jail.

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parnelie 6 years, 4 months ago

fair is one thing but just is another. I need a drink. Is hilling on tonight?? hahaha

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

Just? No, not by any stretch of the imagination.

They follow the law when it suits them, and ignore the law when it doesn't. Dare I say it? There are crooks working in the state court system, and any law enforcement officer whow wants to see the proof can contact me by e-mail.

There's a fine line between "malicious exercise of judicial discretion" and "theft under color of official right," and the line is a matter of JURISDICTION. When a judge takes property away from you without jursidction over the persons and the subject matter of the controversy, it's T-H-E-F-T.

You don't believe it happened? The IRS believes it happened! That's good enough for me.

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drakek 6 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of Blow. Bet cha Wall blows town the first chance he gets. He will win this and be working in Aspen before ya know it. Steamboat will be wondering, "dah which way did he go, which way did he go."

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id04sp 6 years, 4 months ago

There's a little secret I learned the hard way. If you stop worrying about what other people think of you, or what you did, or what somebody said about you, or anything else they want to believe or make up about you, it sets you free. Other than the responsibilities I have to my family, which I take very seriously, I don't care what anybody else thinks about me.

Someone Mr. Wall's age probably has the maturity to have learned the same lesson. I don't expect to see him leave town over unproven allegations. I would not be surprised to see him come through this and fulfill his promises to the people who voted for him, and not worry about what the rest of the people think.

There are several powerful and egotistical crooks in town who let it all roll off their backs, because they are untouchable. They don't acknowledge, they don't deny, and nothing happens to them. It's a trick they learned in law school; nothing is "so" until the judge or the jury believes it is and makes a decision.

The fact is that most people really don't care about anyone's reputation or how they feel about anyting anymore. It's worse to use the "N" word in public than it is to steal thousands of dollars from innocent people in the courts. A sheriff would get fired faster for using a racial slur than for allowing a prisoner to die in custody. That's just how it is.

I think it's a great reflection of how effective the new RCSO is in preventing crime when the CSP has to start enforcing the "dim your headlights" law to have a reason to pull somebody over.

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