A sheriff in court
Oct. 27, 2007
- Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall is pulled over by the Colorado State Patrol at Walton Creek Road and U.S. Highway 40 for an alleged failure to dim his headlights. He subsequently is cited for driving under the influence of alcohol. The State Patrol revokes Wall's driver's license because he refuses any tests of his blood alcohol level. Wall later appeals the revocation and is issued a temporary license while awaiting a hearing with the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Oct. 28, 2007
- Reached on his cell phone while returning from a World Series game in Denver, Wall denies the charges: "I did not consume anything that would have affected my ability to drive." Wall continues to affirm his innocence in the days following, but, shortly thereafter, refuses to discuss the charges any further. Wall and his lawyer, Steamboat Springs attorney Ron Smith, have not commented about the charges outside of the courtroom since.
Oct. 31, 2007
- 14th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James files a motion for appointment of a special prosecutor, citing his office's close working relationship with the Routt County Sheriff's Office. The motion is later granted, and Mark Hurlbert of the Fifth Judicial District is assigned the case. Hurlbert later assigns the case to one of his deputies, Karen Romeo.
Dec. 4, 2007
- In Wall's first court appearance related to the drunken driving charges, the case is continued after the prosecution and defense say their investigations are not complete. Routt County Judge James Garrecht says he eventually will recuse himself from the case because of the court's close working relationship with the Sheriff's Office.
Dec. 19, 2007
- Department of Revenue Hearing Officer Art Julian upholds the State Patrol's yearlong revocation of Wall's driver's license after a telephone hearing. In his decision and order, Julian writes that he found the troopers' testimony more credible than testimony delivered on Wall's behalf.
- Wall makes his second court appearance. Discussion focuses on Romeo's request for a change of venue because of what she called "massive, pervasive and prejudicial" publicity in Routt County. The case is delayed again. Garrecht recuses himself from the case. Senior Judge Cecil Wayne Williams, a veteran of the Grand County bench, is later appointed to the case.
- Smith files an appeal of Julian's decision to uphold the State Patrol's revocation of Wall's driver's license.
- In a court hearing, Williams denies Romeo's motion to change venue: "I do not find them to be massive," Williams said of Steamboat Pilot & Today newspaper articles Romeo submitted as a supplement to her motion. "I do not find them to be pervasive. And I do not find them to be prejudicial."
- In a telephone hearing, Smith says Wall is prepared to enter a plea in the criminal case, but all parties agree to reset that case to trail Wall's appeal of his license revocation.
11 a.m. today
- Wall to appear in Routt County Court.
Steamboat Springs Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall is scheduled to appear in Routt County Court today for hearings in two cases related to charges that he drove drunk on an October night last year.
The first hearing, scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Routt County Justice Center, is an appeal of the revocation of Wall's driver's license. A hearing in Wall's criminal case will follow the appeal hearing, according to court documents. The criminal case includes failure to dim headlights and DUI charges, as well as possession of a weapon while under the influence of alcohol.
The Colorado State Patrol revoked Wall's license for one year because he refused any tests of his blood alcohol level after being pulled over in his county-owned vehicle while driving home from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's 100th anniversary celebration on Oct. 27, 2007. Wall initially was pulled over about 10:15 p.m. that night, for an alleged failure to dim his headlights at U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road in Steamboat Springs.
Wall appealed the revocation and was issued a temporary license, but the Colorado Department of Revenue up-
held the revocation in December 2007. Hearing officer Art Julian wrote that he found state troopers' testimony more credible than testimony delivered on Wall's behalf. Wall and his lawyer, Steamboat Springs Attorney Ron Smith, are requesting a judicial review of that decision and accuse the State Patrol and Julian of inappropriate behavior. They say the State Patrol did not have probable cause to pull Wall over or arrest him.
In her response to the appeal, special prosecutor Karen Romeo rejects Smith's argument that it would have been impossible for Trooper Melissa Fowler to distinguish Wall's high beams from overhead lights at U.S. 40 and Walton Creek Road. She also writes that evidence the troopers say they observed - including Wall's failure to dim his headlights, the smell of alcohol, his red and glassy eyes and slow and muted speech - was sufficient to charge Wall with DUI.
Romeo did not return a phone message left at her office Monday. Wall and Smith have refused to discuss the case.
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