DA gives out information on former detective

Arrest could affect more than 100 cases

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For the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, the time put toward digging through old case files since former Craig Police Detective Ken Johnson's arrest has been incalculable, officials said.

"I wouldn't even know how to give a number," District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said. "It's been an arduous process, but we're trying to provide all the information to anyone who may need it."

Johnson was arrested in late September and then charged Oct. 2 with three felonies: attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony; accessory to crime, a Class 5 felony; and embezzlement of public property, also a Class 5 felony.

Before his arrest, however, Johnson worked closely with the District Attorney's Office on several felony cases as a police officer.

Since charges were filed against the former detective, Oldham has directed her staff to provide accounts of the evidence against Johnson to every defendant Johnson filed a report against or assisted in investigating since October 2007.

Officials think the final tally of cases will total more than 100.

The date corresponds to one particular case that may be most affected by Johnson's arrest: the investigation of James Jerome Barry, who was sentenced the following year to 24 years in prison at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex.

Barry was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting local woman Tausha Merwin, who Johnson is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with during his time as a police officer.

All of the criminal charges against Johnson stem from his relationship with Merwin.

Prosecutors allege he helped her violate her probation for two drug offenses, provided her with information about ongoing law enforcement investigations, gave her a laptop computer owned by law enforcement and asked her to lie to police officials during an internal affairs investigation into Johnson's behavior.

"We're taking cases from October 2007 on because that is when it seems possible (Johnson's) criminal behavior began," Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Snow said, referring to when Johnson first became involved with Tausha's kidnapping and Barry's investigation.

Specifically regarding Barry, Johnson assisted in his criminal investigation and testified as a rebuttal witness at his trial, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed against Johnson in Moffat County Court.

Barry could not be reached for comment, but Snow said he has not heard of anyone contacting the District Attorney's Office with plans to appeal or request a retrial for a previous conviction.

Oldham said the fact that Johnson's case is being shared does not mean any cases will be appealed or retried. Generally speaking, there are a host of other issues, such as physical evidence and other testimony, which could corroborate convictions.

However, the District Attorney added her office cannot assume how Johnson's case will impact others.

"We don't have a problem with doing it, because we recognize it is our obligation to do so," Oldham said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

justice4all 4 years, 11 months ago

When are they going to investigate their on investigator for destroying evidence, influencing a public servant and 1st degree official misconduct??

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14th_to_OAR 4 years, 11 months ago

Justice, could you please expand and give some background on your post. Sounds intriguing. I know she went out of her way in the past to avoid disclosing damaging evidence to the prosecution though legally required to do so.

Also, how come no coverage was given during the campaign to her adultery with her boss? If such cheaters aren't fit to be governors or Senators, surely they're not fit to head an office where ethics and integrity have to be placed ahead of your own self-interest multiple times per day. If it's relevant to know about the former Governor and tough guy prosecutor from New York, surely it is relevant for a local DA with fewer checks and balances, is it not?

Also, knowing the Colorado criminal bar is not exactly the creme de la creme of the US, is the DA contacting the defense attorneys, or expecting them to tune in to the Steamboat Pilot website daily. It would be nice if the DA could respond to the public's concerns by posting online here.

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14th_to_OAR 4 years, 11 months ago

Sorry for double post but Ms. Oldham claims to be at a loss for how to calculate the time and cost put in the DA's offices going over this swine's old files.

I think she was in private practice at some point so should know this.

  1. Take time worked per year by attorneys (i.e. deduct mulititude of vacation time, paid days off, etc.).

  2. Add together salary and the value of benefit package. Break down into an hourly rate by (assuming 8 hour days) first breaking down into a per day rate, then divide by 8 to arrive at the hourly rate of each DA.

  3. Keep a "billing" log of each attorney's time (and can do the same for support staff).

  4. Release info to public and try real, real hard to make the swine pay as part of restitution. The taxpayers have spent enough on this alleged scum Johnson.

Finally, please explain why, Ms. Oldham, you don't think it would be preferable to appoint a SP. After all, the statute allows you to do it based on your own discretion and no justification need be supplied. Why not do it? Why not ask her this question?

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