Articles Posted in Law & Information

On March 15, 2010, police arrested two men on drug and weapons related charges in Colorado Springs. According to an article from the Colorado Connection, the first arrest occurred at the Conoco Gas Station on North Nevada Avenue after the suspect allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover detective. The 21-year-old was arrested shortly thereafter and was found to be carrying a loaded, semi-automatic handgun. This gave police probable cause to search the man’s home where another suspect was discovered.

Police confronted the second suspect, who was later taken into custody on an active warrant for the charge of attempted first-degree murder. At the time of arrest, the second suspect also possessed a loaded handgun and had resisted arrest, which was later added to his charges. The first man arrested was charged with distribution of marijuana and carrying a concealed weapon.

According to authorities, a third handgun was recovered during the investigation along with eleven pounds of marijuana, 27 grams of psychotropic mushrooms and $600 in cash. Both suspects were booked into the Criminal Justice Center, pending their respective trial dates.
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In a recent article in Men’s Health Magazine, Colorado Springs was deemed the 16th drunkest city in the nation, beating out Denver for the drunkest city in Colorado. These cities and others in the list have some of the highest death rates from alcoholic liver disease based on data collected from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to calculating death rates, Men’s Health Magazine aggregated research from a variety of government bureaus to help determine the city’s deaths from DUIs, severity of DUI penalties, number of people who admit to binge drinking last month and the number of DUI arrests made. With a sliding scale of first being the most offensive and 100 being the least, Colorado Springs ranked 17th for most liver disease, 18th for harshest DUI laws and 33rd for most DUI arrests, putting Colorado Springs on the map for drinking and driving.
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According to a recent report, last Friday, March 5, 2010, Vail county deputies arrested a 45-year-old man for distribution and possession of cocaine. The man was discovered selling $500 worth of cocaine to undercover officers. He is now being held in the Eagle County Detention Facility on a $50,000 bail.

When police arrived at the detainee’s home in West Vail with a search warrant, they found drug distribution materials in his bedroom. A concerned citizen had informed police about the operation, thereby initiating the investigation. Local police encourage citizen to report tips regarding illegal drug activity via phone or Internet, offering rewards up to $1,000 if an arrest is made.

Drug possession and distribution crimes in Colorado Springs are both serious offenses. Sometimes, drug offenders are offered plea bargain agreements, meaning the acceptance of a guilty plea for lesser sentencing. However, people accused of drug offenses often feel pressured into accepting seemingly good plea bargains that can lead to otherwise avoidable and unfortunate consequences.
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Police reported last Friday that the brother of a notorious Mexican drug lord of the 1980s was jailed for 17 years for taking part in a marijuana smuggling racket. He was sentenced last Thursday by a federal judge in Colorado. Following the 17-year sentence will be two years of supervised release. He was charged with heading a crime syndicate that imported and distributed marijuana in the U.S. from 1983-1994.

The man, alias “Michael Jackson,” admitted to trafficking over 100 tons of marijuana between 1985 and 1988 and sending over 100 million dollars to Mexico. He had been released to U.S. authorities last year after spending several years in a Mexican prison. The brother of the convicted is currently incarcerated in a maximum-security prison in Mexico for the murder of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officer.

Being charged with a drug offense can have serious effects on a person’s livelihood. In the U.S., all persons accused of offenses are innocent until proven guilty. Often times, people who are accused of committing drug crimes are unaware of their rights and options for legal counsel and defense. If you have been accused of a drug crime, contact an experienced Colorado Springs criminal drug defense attorney who can help you build a strong defense.
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Colorado Springs was hit by 134 robberies in the last two months, according to an article in the Gazette on February 2, 2010. Police stated that 82 reported robberies occurred in January and 52 in December. Most of the robberies occurred at small businesses, fast food restaurants and banks throughout the city. Police have made arrests in 42 of the 134 cases. Officials believe that the spree is merely an anomalous spike rather than an overall trend of increasing crime.

“Crime trending is not done month-to-month, rather it’s done over several years,” stated a police spokesman. He also pointed out that the theft rate has gone down in the last few years, indicating that there were 608 reported robberies in 2006 and 530 in 2009.

Theft charges in Colorado are categorized as petty theft or grand theft, depending on the value of the items stolen. Without the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, one runs the risk of being convicted of serious charges. If you, or a family member, have been accused of a robbery in Colorado, you need an experienced Colorado criminal defense theft attorney to help build a strong defense on your behalf.
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Police research shows that roughly half of the drivers arrested by police for driving under the influence of alcohol in 2009 were repeat offenders. Last year, Basalt police officers made 74 DUI arrests. Of these arrests, the agency was able to track down the records of 46 of those arrested and convicted, 25 of which had a prior DUI arrest in Colorado.

The police were unable to obtain the driving histories of the remaining 28 arrestees as they were from out of state and natives of other countries, predominantly Latino. The report also indicates that Basalt’s percentage of repeat DUI offenders is higher than the state average.

In the wake of these results, some argue for harsher DUI penalties, providing a stronger deterrent to potential offenders. Some Colorado lawmakers would like to pass a bill requiring a mandatory jail sentence for repeat offenders. This would make two or more DUI convictions a felony. Others argue that the state does not have the money to house thousands of additional inmates convicted of DUIs.
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Twenty-five students from Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs have been suspended after being caught “sexting.” The 6th grade students were allegedly forwarding a picture of a naked 12-year-old girl on their cell phones. Under Colorado law, the students could be facing a felony charge for the incident. The El Paso County District Attorney received the case for review on Wednesday afternoon. He stated that in cases like this one, mandatory education and counseling is the best first step for the students.

A parent of one of the suspended students believes that Skyview may have mishandled the situation. It is questionable as to why the students were suspended from school as the text was sent after school hours. In addition, the school’s resource officer threatened the students and told them that the incident will ruin their lives, preventing them from getting a good job later in life. School officials also interrogated the students and confiscated their cell phones without alerting parents.
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Last December, Colorado Springs police launched an investigation on DUI test results, following a routine crime lab audit that showed 82 errors in blood alcohol test results. On February 1, 2010, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the police investigation has discovered 167 erroneous test results, which is double the number previously reported. A police spokesman stated that the inflated DUI test results are most likely due to human error, rather than equipment error or something inherent with the lab itself.

Since December, the police department has re-evaluated about 1,000 blood alcohol test results taken since January 2009. Meanwhile, prosecutors have been contacting individuals whose cases may have involved the flawed tests.
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Technology has proven time and time again that it has the capability of simplifying our lives in a number of ways. However, one technological step forward is garnering criticism for being a potential invasion of privacy. According to a cnn.com article, a 2008 case was recently solved thanks to DNA found at the scene that did not match that of the suspect, but that of the suspect’s brother.

Because the individual whom the DNA belonged to was not in Colorado’s criminal database, initial results did not link him to the 2008 incident. However, investigators used new software that was part of a study being conducted by the district attorney’s office. This was done in order to see whether or not the DNA sample was a close enough match to any other individuals already in the criminal database. Ultimately, such a tactic was conducted in hopes that some sort of familial match would aid the investigation process. It worked.

Opponents of this new method argue that using DNA to locate individuals not associated with the crime committed, and then basing an investigation on such a connection, is a violation of the fourth amendment. However, law enforcement insists that DNA information gathered in this manner will not be used in a court of law as evidence, but will simply be used as an investigation lead that may or may not help them track down a suspect. According to the article, investigators compare this new technology tactic to an eyewitness in an auto accident only being able to obtain a partial license plate. In the same manner that the individual doesn’t know exactly what the entire number was, the individual is still able to provide law enforcement with a starting point for their investigation.
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Investigations are only as accurate as the individuals who conduct them. While necessary precautions are taken to ensure that test results are as accurate as possible, error can still result. According to a recent article posted on springsgov.com, the validity of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings arrived at by the Metro Crime Lab has been brought into question. An internal investigation revealed that some tests, administered from 2009 to the present, were determined to have been initially reported at higher levels than the actual results should have warranted. That is, approximately 82 tests have been deemed inaccurate thus far. During the time period of admitted inaccuracy, the Metro Crime Lab processed approximately 1,000 tests. Investigation into the matter and retesting of results by a Senior Forensic Chemist are both ongoing.

The cause of this problem is still being looked into, with both the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) and The Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) conducting investigations into the matter. Also, the manufacturer of the equipment used in gathering the blood alcohol concentration numbers, Agilent Technologies, has also looked into whether or not the equipment used during the testing was defective or improperly calibrated. Regardless of the reason though, individuals who were initially deemed to be above the legal limit in terms of BAC may not have been over the limit at all. Therefore, charges brought against those individuals may have been based on erroneous information.
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