Prosecutor responds to Wall appeal

License revocation will be subject of April 29 hearing

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— The prosecutor in the driving under the influence case against Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall thinks the revocation of Wall's driver's license was appropriate and should not be stayed or reviewed by a judge in Routt County Court.

Wall is disputing the Colorado Department of Revenue's yearlong revocation of his driver's license. In his petition for review, Wall's lawyer, Ron Smith, accuses the Colorado State Patrol and Department of Revenue hearing officer Art Julian of inappropriate behavior.

But in her response to Wall's petition, special prosecutor Karen Romeo argues the troopers had probable cause to pull over Wall and arrest him.

"The evidence, abundant in nature, included (Wall's) failure to dim his headlights, the smell of alcohol, his red and glassy eyes, his slow and muted speech that was unlike his normal speech and his unsteady gait," Romeo's response reads.

Smith's petition argues that it would have been impossible for Trooper Melissa Fowler to distinguish Wall's high beams from the overhead street lights at Walton Creek Road and U.S. Highway 40 when she pulled him over the night of Oct. 27.

The State Patrol revoked Wall's license that night because he refused to submit to tests of his blood alcohol level. Wall was charged with a failure to dim his headlights, driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of a weapon while under the influence of alcohol. Wall appealed the loss of his driver's license to the Department of Revenue and was issued a temporary license, but Julian upheld the revocation in December.

In rejecting the arguments in Smith's petition, Romeo notes "the decision of the hearing officer can be overturned only if it is arbitrary and capricious, or unsupported by any evidence." In regard to the reason for pulling Wall over in the first place, Romeo writes, "the hearing officer merely found Trooper Fowler's account to be more credible based on his own common sense and experience as a driver. There is nothing improper about that."

Julian based part of his decision on State Patrol reports that Wall was unsteady on his feet when he exited his county-owned vehicle. But Smith argues any observations made after Wall exited his vehicle should not be considered because the decision to arrest Wall already had been made. A written report from Fowler supports Smith's claim. She wrote that Trooper Brett Hilling - who was called to the scene and took over the investigation - told her before asking Wall to step out of his vehicle, "we would arrest Wall based on indicators of intoxication we observed."

Smith argues that Julian's preference of the troopers' testimony over testimony submitted on behalf of Wall is "pervasive and disturbing." Written testimony submitted by 16 individuals supports Wall's position that he had, at most, only one glass of wine at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association celebration he attended Oct. 27 before driving home.

Again, Romeo argues that Julian's determination is a defensible one.

"An arbitrary and capricious decision is one that is void of legal thought or reasoning," she writes. "The hearing officer commented at length on the credibility of (Wall's) witnesses. : Bottom line the finding that (Wall's) witnesses were not credible is a well-reasoned opinion that is neither arbitrary or capricious."

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 11 a.m. April 29. Wall's criminal trial has been reset to trail his petition for a judicial review of the Department of Revenue's hearing.

Comments

justathought 6 years, 9 months ago

Having a little trouble wriggling out of this one are we? It's just wonderful when a man elected to uphold the law tries so hard to find loopholes and to blame fellow officers for his own stupidity. If Wall truly had consumed only one drink and nothing else that would have impaired his ability to drive, taking a blood test would have proven that fact. Had he consented to a test (and passed) he would have a little more credibility when trying to prove a conspiracy theory against him, but no, why should the sheriff take responsibility for his own actions. Go ahead Wall, blame the cops like so many other drunks do, are you sure you weren't subjected to a little police brutality when you were stopped? Keep it up Wall, maybe the misinformed voters that "just wanted change" will see you for what you are.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 9 months ago

when you are in trouble flying your airplane you comply with the three C's, climb, communicate, and confess, this man has no guts, a confession would have got a lot of respect, this is shameful to think he is the law, pathetic to say the least...................

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justice4all 6 years, 9 months ago

It will be interesting to see if the 5th Judicial District Prosecutor assigned to prosecute this case delivers more justice than our own 14th Judicial Prosecutor has done. Just look at the record of their office. If Wall is found innocent, what will it cost for him to prove his innocence? Is this going to be another Randal Nelson case? I am strongly against driving while impaired by anything and I strongly believe that our laws should be enforced equally for everyone.

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blackthroatedwind 6 years, 9 months ago

It could be over if he'd do the right thing and resign!

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kusellout 6 years, 9 months ago

Gary Wall must have 1,000 subscriptions to the Steamboat Pilot, because they always tend to shine a positive light on him. I can't for the life of me figure out why these stories never highlight the fact that a refusal to take a breathalyzer is an automatic arrest for DUI. It doesn't matter what the other circumstances are (which can be argued in court after the fact). The fact is, he refused the breathalyzer, and the Pilot seems to deem that insignificant.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

Come see "Gary" on stage next week at the Steamboat Mountain Theater in "Trading Bases." It's going to be hilarious!!

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bandmama 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah........... I just wonder what he thinks when others blame the cop who is out to get them while staring through the "red glassey" eyes and mumbles under his slow and muted breath?

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jeep 6 years, 9 months ago

none of you where there ,why hang a man if he hasn't been found guilty yet?

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justathought 6 years, 8 months ago

This is a county sheriff, his department gives roadside or blood tests to anyone they suspect guilty of DUI. Wall's actions (refusal of test) BELIE his assertion of innocence.

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arnonep 6 years, 8 months ago

jeep, Please remove yourself from the human race. You are the kind of person Gary Wall is. justa Nicely put.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 8 months ago

jeep voted for Wall..a vote for change..well things have changed we have a Sheriff tring to wiggle out of a DUI..the very thing you and I would have been charged for and convicted by now..all you who voted for Wall.Thanks now Routt County is a laughing stock..heck even an attorny friend of mine from Cali. called and asked what the heck is going on down there...well you got change..you made the wine you drink a cup.keep up the good work Garret you had my vote

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merkinwsp 6 years, 8 months ago

jeep- u MUST be the last "one"

  paddle- genius comment...come up w/ that theory all by                        yourself?

c'mon really- what do we possibly have left for discussion here?

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