Thursday, September 11, 2008
Steamboat Springs A Colorado Department of Revenue hearing officer dismissed the one-year suspension of former Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman's driver's license Wednesday. As a result, Rodeman retains her driving privileges despite failing a Breathalyzer test the night of her controversial arrest.
Steamboat Springs attorney Kris Hammond, who represents Rodeman, said the Department of Revenue hearing officer ruled that Oak Creek Police Sgt. Erik Foster had no right to enter Rodeman's home to arrest her. A message left with the Department of Revenue was not returned Wednesday afternoon, and no written ruling had been issued.
The Department of Revenue hearing was conducted via telephone and began Tuesday. Foster testified during the hearing and was subjected to a one-hour cross-examination by Hammond. The hearing officer continued the case to Wednesday, but instead of continuing with the cross-examination, Hammond said, the hearing officer announced the dismissal.
The ruling has no official bearing on Rodeman's upcoming criminal case, in which she faces charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer. She is scheduled to enter a plea Oct. 1.
Rodeman was arrested July 19 after Foster said she failed to use her car's turn signal and then eluded officers by fleeing from her car into her house. Foster then entered the home, where he used a Taser to subdue and arrest Rodeman. Rodeman subsequently failed a Breathalyzer, triggering the automatic suspension of her license.
Rodeman and Hammond appealed the license suspension on grounds that Foster's warrantless entry was unlawful.
Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio said he did not know the details of Wednesday's ruling.
"My understanding is there was a dismissal," Caterinicchio said. "I don't know any other details."
Caterinicchio, who defended Foster's actions in the aftermath of Rodeman's arrest, emphasized that the Department of Revenue's ruling is separate from any criminal proceedings against Rodeman.
Hammond is optimistic the Department of Revenue ruling is a precursor to what will transpire in his client's criminal court case.
"We're obviously very happy with today's ruling," Hammond said. "We would hope that Judge (James) Garrecht will see the law the same way the hearing officer did."