Tag Archives: Colorado District Attorneys

Colorado DA Mark Hurlbert’s Latest Idiotic Case: Female Coach Who Had Sex With Almost-Adult Male Student Faces Life In Prison; Saga Grows More Hilarious As Eagle Sheriff Releases Titillating Details

Let’s begin today’s update on Mark Hurlbert and Colorado’s latest legal

Coach Redfern Looking Pretty Good for a Booking Photo

telenovela by correcting several important details about Basalt High Girls Basketball coach studess, just-turned 26-year old Lauren Redfern, and her more than consensual sexual relationship with a very late teen, who I will for now refer to by the name “Slugger.”  Credit for the man-child’s apt moniker belongs to the fun writers at the popular celebrity site Busted Coverage.   And like many stories involving baffling Mark Hurlbert case filing decisions, this one’s now gone international and is cracking up readers across the pond in the U.K’s photo-studded Daily Mail.

I posted here on Thursday,  based on news reports, that Slugger, a senior at Basalt High, was a tender child of the mere age of 17 1/2 at the time he was violated.  But according to Eagle County Sheriff’s documents filed in court February 17, Slugger but was a full 17 and 11/12th years old at the time of his most recent heinous “sexual assault” at the hands and otherwise of Coach Redfern.   And another sexual encounter occurred right after Slugger hit the big 1-8, but Slugger was no longer a victim of a serious felony at that point.  I’m hoping we’ll see a hunky photo and learn Slugger’s name real soon.

Coach Goes To Court February 17, Eagle, CO. Is that hottie behind her Slugger?

And speaking of serious felonies, original reports I cited stated Coach Redfern faced up to 16 long years in a costly-to-taxpayers,  union-run Colorado prison for her multiple acts of “sexual assault” against Slugger.  The Fifth Judicial District’s lame duck, term limited DA Mark Hurlbert helpfully set the record straight that Colorado is not some pansy, slap-on-the-wrist state in serious “sexual assault” cases such as allegedly committed by Coach Redfern upon the helpless, passive, athletic male body of Slugger.  No, no, no, no as we say in Mexico.   Redfern actually faces life in prison for what she allegedly did to Slugger.

Not that Slugger’s felonious victimizer would actually receive such a Sharia Lawesque sentence, because DA Hurlbert will be considering all the “mitigating and aggravating” circumstances in negotiating a likely plea bargain, and the judge will do the same in imposing sentence.  But life as one knows it is basically destroyed by the mere stroking of some computer keys in just being charged with a felony.

Slugger Pursued The Coach!

I anticipate this revelation from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department will be a major mitigating factor.

[Slugger] met with investigators at the sheriff’s office substation in El Jebel and told them he pursued Redfern romantically. He said they met two years ago and shared an interest in athletics and they worked out at the same gym. The student said Redfern was his study hall teacher.  [Slugger] said they got together several times starting in October and engaged in fondling, which advanced to sexual intercourse “about three times” in November and December, before he was 18. Their sexual relationship continued after he turned 18, according to his interview. He told deputies he believes he fell in love with Redfern. [Emphasis added] “[Slugger] explained that Redfern had no bearing on any of his grades or status within Basalt High School,” the affidavit said. “[Slugger] said that he never felt like he had to develop the relationship or continue it in exchange for any benefit or status.” Both Redfern and the student said they decided after “the bathroom incident” on Feb. 9 to discontinue their relationship until after the student graduated. They had little choice since the criminal investigation began the next day.

Bathroom Incident

Now,  what is this “bathroom incident”?  It’s a classic.

[Coach Redfern and Slugger] drew attention to themselves while allegedly having sex in the bathroom of the teacher’s office Thursday, Feb. 9, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. The athletic director of the school allegedly interrupted the encounter when he knocked on the bathroom door, said an affidavit filed in support of an arrest warrant. Teacher Lauren Redfern came out of the bathroom and exited the office with the athletic director while the student stayed behind, the affidavit said. “School administrators confronted the student who told them that he had sex with the teacher in the bathroom,” the affidavit continued. The document, which was filed in Eagle County District Court, didn’t make it clear if [Slugger] was questioned by school administrators on Thursday or Friday. Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said she believed the incident occurred late in the day on Feb. 9 and that district administrators began investigating the morning of Feb. 10.

According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the "Bathroom Incident" occurred in a bathroom similar to this.

But it gets even better (or worse) when the “bathroom incident” and its aftermath is examined from my inevitable defense lawyer perspective.   That’s because the “bathroom incident” was perfectly legal because Slugger was now 18!  So if Slugger and Coach hadn’t opened their big mouths and “cooperated” with meddlesome government employees they would have been in the clear.

The bottom line is that the legislature is at fault for sloppily drafting this statute, but a DA has tremendous discretion on what charges to file against whom and where to spend taxpayer resources.  Mark Hurlbert is a lame duck in the upcoming November election, but there is no reason to believe his nominally-GOP second-in-command (another career bureaucrat like his boss), Scott Turner, would be much of an improvement.  I wouldn’t vote for Joe Biden any sooner than I would vote for Turner.

By contrast, private-sector lawyer Bruce Brown, nominally the Democrat opponent, seems to get very well that the vast majority of voters want a DA who goes full throtel after dangerous bad guys and doesn’t in cases like this one.  And  he brings voters some perspective-providing big city law background as well as years of private practice in Colorado as a respected, successful, ethical, case-winning attorney with 25 years’ experience.  Just what Colorado mountain county voters could use after nine insufferable years of Mark Hurlbert.

Colorado Female Basketball Coach Faces Felony Charges For Sex With 17-1/2 Year Old Male “Child” – Basalt High Teacher Lauren Redfern Charged by Eagle DA Mark Hurlbert

Basalt High's Lauren Redfern Coaching Her Girls Basketball Team - Aspen Times

In a bizarre story of legislative ineptitude, sure to invoke the ire of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly for all the wrong reasons, Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert has charged the hot, athletic, 25-year old Lauren Redfern with several acts of consensual sex with a male “child” who was also a student at Colorado’s Basalt High where Ms. Redfern taught him a P.E. class.  I kid you not, Ms. Redfern faces 16 long years in prison for this joke of a charge that at most should be a misdemeanor.

The Aspen Dailey News shares some details, as does the Aspen Times.  The Swift-owned Times explains the “nuances” of Colorado laws on young adults having sex with relatively old minors:

Colorado law has some nuances when it comes to sexual relations between people in their late teens and adults. An 18-year-old can have a consensual sexual relationship with an older adult, even a teacher, without a crime being committed, McWilliam said. That would violate policies of most schools, but it isn’t a crime because an 18-year-old is considered an adult.

A 17-year-old can have sexual relations with an adult of any age as long as it’s not a person in a position of trust — such as a teacher, according to McWilliam.

Sorry, but the hot adults a late teen is likely to meet are these “people of trust.”  Late teens generally can’t go to bars and meet untrustworthy adults there.  (I’ll be blogging later about how head District Attorneys in positions of trust are rewarded instead of punished for far worse sexual transgressions in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District as we follow the re-election bid of DA Elizabeth Oldham (RINO – Grand County).  Here’s a couple blog posts of mine from 2010 about DA Oldham and her transgressions.)

Back to the hot action at Basalt High.  How were these sexual encounters discovered?  Apparently the gossip mill was running at full-tilt in Basalt and school officials discovered the relationship while collecting their union paychecks.

Man-child “X”, the alleged victim,  is now 18, and did not seek to have charges pressed, nor did his family.  But according to nanny-state enabler Eagle County Undersheriff Mike McWilliam, this doesn’t matter one little bit.  “It’s really not in their hands,” McWilliam said of alleged victims in these heinous cases.  These are cases where we, “The People of the State of Colorado” are the aggrieved party.

Meanwhile, plenty of real dangerous criminals run free in Colorado and even down here in Los Cabos, Mexico, where real victims want real charges filed.  But they aren’t.

ExPat ExLawyer herself is one such victim here in Mexico.  Right now, I’m blogging from the left – not politically speaking -no, never.  Literally speaking.  My right arm was shattered in an unprovoked attack and I just had surgery involving six screws and one titanium plate.  The assailant meanwhile is still running around loose.  I’ll be blogging about my experience with the Mexican criminal justice system soon.

Mike Kopp Succeeds Penry as Senate GOP Leader; Hurlbert Signs CUT Pledge; SD 16 Dem. Nicholson Fundraising; Dem. AG Challenger, Boulder DA Stan Garnett, Hits Incumbent Suthers Hard in TV Interview

Mike Kopp (R-Littleton), was voted in unanimously today as Senate Minority Leader after Josh Penry announced his resignation .  Lynn Bartels is on The Spot.

Mike Kopp (R-Littleton), New Colo. state Senate Minority Leader

Penry’s controversial April 21 move to become Jane Norton’s campaign manager, made his  Minority Leader tenure untenable.  Kopp, a popular young conservative, will take  over after the legislative session ends, which is scheduled for May 12.

Penry portrayed himself as a party uniter, when he gave up his gubernatorial bid  last November and threw his support behind fellow west slope Coloradan, Scott McInnis.  Since then, however, his “uniting” efforts seem to have leaned more towards bending over backwards to help the Dems. and divide Republicans.  Penry also made a puzzling, content-free, and tepid two-sentence  endorsement in the contested GOP SD16 primary –  an unusual March move, to say the least, for a Senate Minority Leader.  Mike Kopp  endorsed  Hurlbert’s  opponent, Tim Leonard, before Hurlbert became a candidate.

Things really got “unusual” when Penry became Jane Norton’s campaign manager in a hotly contested GOP Senate race against Ken Buck.  Such a move was odd enough,  but when Penry came out the door swinging negative attack punches against Buck and his campaign manager, Republican tongues were wagging, asking why the heck is this guy Senate minority leader?

Penry has now done the right thing by stepping down as Minority Leader.

DA Mark Hurlbert, Colo. Senate Dist. 16 Candidate, Signs CUT Pledge, Finally Fulfilling Promise Made Two Months Before: As CUT pledge specialists, Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer is breaking the story of Hurlbert’s long-delayed signing of the Colorado Union of Taxpayer’s commitment to fiscal conservatism.  Hurlbert signed the pledge on April 29, according to CUT Executive Director Marty Neilson. The full pledge is here, as is my running clock updating and week-by-week questioning, why he had not fulfilled his promise, and in general questioning whether he’s a RINO.

Hurlbert is challenging conservative/teaparty Republican, businessman Tim Leonard of Evergreen, in the GOP primary contest.  Leonard signed the pledge on December 31, 2009.

To his credit, Hurlbert has shown a lot more transparency and responsiveness recently.  I told Hurlbert I’d like to follow-up with him about the CUT signing.  My specific questions will not only include his reasons for the delay (he’s been a candidate since January 13), but also whether some positions he has on the issues and actions he has taken might conflict with the CUT pledge.  I expect Hurlbert and I will touch base this week so I can write a more detailed article that sheds more light on  whether Hurlbert will follow through on the CUT pledge if elected to the state Senate in November.

Senate District 16 Democrat Candidate, Gilpin County Commissioner Jeanne Nicholson, Posts Fundraising Numbers in Advance of Today’s 5:00 p.m. Deadline: They are not strong.  According to the Secretary of State’s Tracer site, she raised about $7,000, and has less than $3,000 in the bank.

Needless to say, this should not cause complacency on part of either of her above-referenced GOP opponents.  Jeanne Nicholson is an amiable and smart candidate, and no doubt, Dem party machinery is saving dinero until after August primary.  Nicholson has no primary opponent.  Still, Nicholson hailing from smallest county in Colorado, should be a GOP plus.

Stay tuned to this blog for up-to-the-minute fundraising details of all major races (and some not as major, but which should be) as reports are posted on Tracer.  This will be Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer’s focus in next two days.

Boulder DA Stan Garnett poses a formidable challenge to incumbent Republican AG, John Suthers. This KUSA Your Show interview yesterday sends a big message that we’ll look forward to a clear-cut, liberal vs. conservative campaign between Garnett and Suthers.  Both candidates  are indisputably well qualified as legal honchos.  Pointedly, Garnett, while discussing lots of concerns with the Arizona immigration law, demurs that he has not yet read it completely and cannot give a full opinion of same.  He invites Suthers, who surprisingly has made no comment at all about the Arizona law, to engage in a debate about the measure.

Garnett presents himself as an attractive and articulate Democrat, who will undoubtedly get lots of liberal lawyer campaign money.  He has a star-quality, private practice career, which sets him apart from career politicians.  My own discussions with Garnett show him to be open to media scrutiny and transparent about budget questions.

But no doubt, Stan Garnett is a pure progressive, as this interview shows about gun rights, health care, and other issues.  Garnett contends that Colorado has only spent $5,000 in the health care fight because Suthers basically just signed his name to GOP legal challenges already pre-written before Obama signed the ludicrous legislation.  (The ludicrous part is mine, not Garnett’s, language).

The video is worth the quick viewing.  And no one can dispute Garnett’s  gotten off to quite the robust start as a candidate, while still performing his job as DA without any reported criticism.

Kobe DA Mark Hurlbert is Subject of Hitler YouTube Video Spoof in Colo. State Senate Race – Update May 8: YouTube Spoof Tops 2,000 Views, Now Unblocked on Daily Motion

Updated 4-20: Hurlbert spoof was blocked by YouTube this morning.  This is it’s own legal story.  Tech Crunch has excellent coverage, including use of special software YT provides to all TV channels, movie producers, etc. Just for the record, it was at 1,934 when blocked this a.m.  I was already getting antsy about producing another video,  so I think a brand new spoof about another candidate will be popping up soon. We are seeking permission from Constantin Films, the producer of the Downfall film in Germany to continue to post the video on YouTube, since as political parody it falls under the “fair use” exemption required by the First Amendment and the DCMA

In this saga,  Kobe DA and Colo. state senate candidate Mark Hurlbert-and GOP boss Dick Wadhams as well, are lampooned for thinking such a RINO would win in 2010. The video mocks  Hurlbert as a RINO, ignorant about the issues and dependent upon an overburdened Hitler for assistance.  In the meantime, I’m seeing if this works:

Since the video was produced on February 25, Hitlers fears turned out to be even worse than he imagined, as Hurlbert as shown himself to be a lackluster campaigner and fundraiser.

Obama Justice Department Seeks Mentally Retarded Lawyers to Specialize in Voting Cases: Updated Version with Selected Lawyer Jokes

The recent slip of the tongue by notoriously foul-mouthed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that sent Sarah Palin into a tizzy and Emanuel into amea culpa appearance before disability rights advocates, now appears to be standard lingo for of all places, the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. In a memo offering jobs for attorneys in its Voting Divisionthat range in salary from $105,000 to $155,000, the Civil Rights Division particularly encourages applicants with “targeted disabilities.” The memo lists a host of targeted disabilities, including deafness, blindness, obsessive compulsive disorder, and mental retardation.

Besides having a “targeted disability,” the prospective trial lawyers’ preferred qualifications include:

” (1) substantive knowledge of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and other statutes enforced by the section; (2) familiarity with the various analytical approaches utilized to review voting changes under Section 5 of the VRA; (3) experience investigating and/or litigating voting rights or civil rights cases; (4) federal judicial experience; (5) experience serving as the lead attorney in federal court cases; (6) familiarity with statistical methodologies used in civil rights cases; (6) and fluency in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or vietnamese languages.”

UCLA Law Professor and Volokh Conspiracy founder, Eugene Volokh opines:

“I’m pretty sure I know what happened here: Boilerplate that was designed for a wide range of federal jobs — including the ones (probably a relatively small percentage of all federal jobs) for which one can be qualified even though one is mentally retarded — is just being copied here; and the limitation to “qualified applicants” who “are able to perform the essential functions of the position” ensures that no mentally retarded lawyers will indeed be hired.”

But is Eugene giving Eric Holer and his minions too much credit?  His readers and I respond with a Q and A:

Q: What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer?:  A: Your Honor

Q: Does this explain why the Justice Department drops a lawsuit against the New Black Panthers when they already had a default judgment against them:  A:  Yes.

Q:  What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer?  A: District Attorney.

Q: What kind of “reasonable accomodations” would a mentally retarded lawyer  need to perform the job?  A:  Appointment to the Bench.

Q: What do you call a mentally retarded lawyer?  A: Congressman

Q: What does a mentally retarded lawyer in the Justice Department do when a terrorist is caught trying to blow up a plane?  A:  Read him his Miranda rights.

Q: What do you do with a copy of the job notice from the Justice Department seeking mentally retarded lawyers?  A:  Send it to select lawyers you know with the subject line, “I thought you might be interested in this.”

Q: But did Bush hire mentally retarded lawyers?  A:  Alberto Gonzales.

Q: How do you greet a mentally retarded lawyer?  A: Good morning, your honor.

Q: Where does a mentally retarded prospective lawyer go to pass the bar exam?  A: Colorado.

Elizabeth Oldham: Steamboat Springs DA Short on Legal Experience but Well Versed in Adultery, Evidence Withholding and other forms of Cheating – UPDATED

Despite a history of ethics violations and relatively scant experience as a lawyer, in 2008 Elizabeth Oldham was elected  head District Attorney for Colorado’s 14th Judicial District, a geographically sprawling district that encompasses Routt, Grand and Moffat counties, and includes the  ski resort of Steamboat Springs. It would not be unfair to conclude if more information about her ethical history had been reported to the public and to the Office of Attorney Regulation, the result might have turned out differently.

Why is that?  I should first point out that the information about Oldham’s career at the 14th and why she was forced to leave there for several years and join Mark Hurlbert’s 5th District Attorney’s office, is not disputed at all by Oldham.  She sat down during the campaign for a lengthy interview with Steamboat Springs Local publisher, Thomas Reuter.  In the original post, I linked to the URL for that article, but under what Reuter described to me as local pressure, he removed that URL from his website a few weeks ago.  When I discovered the link was no longer current, I contacted Reuter and he sent me a downloaded Pdf of the article, which I have now embedded at the bottom of this post.

In that interview,  Oldham admitted to Reuter that she’d committed serious misconduct while a Deputy District Attorney in the 14th Judicial District when she, married herself, embarked on an affair with her married-with-children boss, the head DA.  His name is mentioned in the attached article, but is misspelled.  It should have an “a” where it has an “o”.  While Oldham’s marriage remained intact, it broke up the former head DA’s marriage and devastated his wife and children.

As usual, I have done independent research, and recently spoke with this now-Senior Judge’s former wife.  Seven years later, she and her family are still devastated.  Because of this, I have removed the name of her former husband and Oldham paramour from this post.  A Senior Judge, in addition to collecting his PERA pension at a far younger age than most of us get to retire, picks up an additional 20 percent for filling in for judges on vacations and conducting overflow work.  I hope the majority of it goes to his family.

The affair was a violation of the DA’s office ethics rules for reasons that should be obvious.  Each attorney is sworn to uphold state ethics rules, and many rules apply to DAs that don’t apply to private attorneys, because under the law,  prosecutors are sworn to seek justice, even if that means losing a case.  By contrast, defense attorneys opposing them in court, are bound by ethics rules, but are free to defend the guilty and in fact are required to use all legal means to vigrously defend their clients.

In practice, though, many DAs pursue their prosecutions seeking only to win, justice be damned.  Sometimes the DAs just want  notches on their belts, sometimes they are settling personal scores with lawyers or defendants they don’t like.   A boss might overlook ethical violations by his mistress, he might encourage her to cover up his own ethical violations.  He might be threatened  if he left the mistress against her desires with disclosure of the affair to the public or his wife.

In addition, as Reuter points out, a DA is an officer of the court and representations they make will generally be taken at face value by judges in what is called a “proffer” — a statement of alleged facts made without swearing under oath, which serves to immunize the DA from potential perjury if they lie.  Their entire jobs involve proof of the truth.  In theory.

Thus, if someone goes around lying to her husband or his wife, to co-workers, to friends on a daily basis, it doesn’t take an imaginative leap to conclude such an individual is not particularly trustworthy in general.  The wife of the then-head 14th District Attorney was a clerk of the court.  She came into contact with Oldham every day and thought she was her friend, all the while being betrayed.  (And she denies Reuter’s report that she spread news of the affair around the court house).

That’s why such conduct has brought down the careers of politicians who we don’t even expect to be telling the truth routinely, such as presidential candidate John Edwards, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, or New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer.  The media coverup of John Edwards’ infidelities and lies could well have changed the outcome of the presidential election in 2008, as his continued campaigning while the media kept his secrets arguably took a lot of votes away from Hillary Clinton.

Oldham’s series of ethical violations was no big secret in legal circles, but it was from the general public and litigants in Hurlbert’s 5th Judicial District after he brought her aboard despite not only ethical violations of 14th District policies, but his own appropriate policies as well.  He wrote me today, March 29, 2010, he would hire her back had he the opportunity.  Hurlbert did not deny the ethics violations (and how in the small mountain communities of DAs and judges could he or local judges not have known).  In addition, he has failed to report other ethics violations by her as required by the Office of Attorney Regulation.

And just when one would think all this legal hypocrisy couldnt get any worse, the former 14th District DA was appointed a District Court Judge by former-governor Bill Owens.   This left Ms. Oldham with an obvious conflict of interest problem, as she could not ethically have any of her cases adjudicated before him. And akin to all the bad cops that get kicked out of one department and then, behind the backs of  the public who pay them,  get jobs in a new and unsuspecting town or suburb, Oldham moved to Summit County.  Mark Hurlbert ultimately promoted her to his third in command, Chief Deputy.   Hurlbert, facing term limits he unsuccessfully  tried to extend, is now a candidate for State Senate District 16.

The real kick is the reasons Owens gave for the appointment of an ethically challenged District Attorney to a judgeship.  Owens  said:  “During the course of the selection process I heard from a wide range of members of the community about [his] courage, integrity and excellent legal skills. These qualities combined with his exceptional intellect will serve him well as District Court judge.”  I guess Bill Owens had a very different definition of “integrity” than most Coloradans.

Here’s the restored interview, in a downloaded pdf.  Elizabeth Oldham’s Adultery, Ethics Violations, and Conflict of Interest with 14th District DA: Elizabeth Oldham’s Interview with Thomas Reuter. I would note that there’s a lot of stuff here that’s not my style, in particular the observations about what a “legal cutie” Oldham supposedly is.  My characterization of her would not be fit to print.