Colorado Mountain bike racer, Wendy Lyall, who used her friend’s registration number to ride in a Leadville race last year and was charged with a felony, appeared in court today and plead guilty to a misdemeanor trespass charge. DA Mark Hurlbert dropped the felony criminal impersonation charge he originally filed against her, and instead Lyall will receive a deferred judgment under which she’ll be required to write a letter of apology and perform 45 hours of bicycle safety instruction.
The deferred judgment settlement represents the most lenient and speedy resolution of the case possible, short of an outright dismissal. It is not the type of resolution one would anticipate after the filing of a felony charge. As we first reported, in a piece that gained national attention, this result should be considered a victory for grassroots activists and ordinary citizens to get out the message when they feel government officials are not representing them.
Mark Hurlbert himself got that message at the Colorado Republican Assembly on Friday where his state Senate bid was quashed when he failed to qualify for the GOP primary ballot in August. Hurlbert was crushed by opponent Tim Leonard, 71 to 29 percent.
The fact remains, that a better resolution for everyone concerned could have and should have come without criminal charges. I just finished an interview with race director, Ken Chlouber. As we first reported, he wanted criminal charges dropped, as well as information privately conveyed to him that could help him improve security procedures at the race. Chlouber confirmed that he knew nothing about the plea bargain until after court was over. DA Hurlbert failed Chlouber in not securing this reasonable request, and managed to also fail Lyall, Chlouber and the public by not simply dropping criminal charges.
Hurlbert still damaged Wendy Lyall far more than this plea deal indicates because Hurlbert meted out so much “extra-judicial” punishment before she ever stepped foot in court simply by filing unwarranted felony charges.
I don’t know Lyall, but I’ve heard from quite a few people who do know her, and I doubt she would have needed a felony prosecution to agree to teach 45 hours of bicycle safety. Chlouber was very outspoken in our interview this evening, so much so that it warrants a separate article while I get out these basics about the case.
Under the deferred judgment plea, the case will be dismissed in one year as long as Lyall performs her two requirements of the apology letter and the bike safety instruction. The record of the case is then automatically sealed and she will have no official criminal conviction or even a record of the charges. Lyall will also be able to have the felony arrest record sealed upon application to the court and the payment of a filing fee.
Her friend, Katie Brazelton, who was injured and could not compete in the race and who gave her race packet to Lyall, faces a June 7 court appearance on a charge of felony conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation.