A former Summit County, Colorado judge and prosecutor is facing Felony Menacing charges (C.R.S 18-3-206) after being accused of pulling knife on a couple in Breckenridge. He is claiming that he pulled his keys, not a knife, in self defense, but a knife was found on his person when he was searched by the police.
In Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County, Menacing is normally a class 3 misdemeanor, and requires proof that a person, by threat or physical action, knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. However, if menacing is committed by the use of a deadly weapon or by a person who states or pretends that they are armed with a deadly weapon, it is a class 5 felony. Because this former judge allegedly used a knife in this case, he is facing felony charges and the possibility of up to three years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
Ironically, this former judge wrote a guest column in the Summit County Daily News in which he criticized the current Summit County District Attorney, Mark Hurlbert, for his practices. Hurlbert is the District Attorney for the 5th Judicial District, which includes Summit, Eagle, Clear Creek, and Lake County. It remains to be seen how his criticism of the District Attorney will affect the outcome of his case.
Felony Menacing in Arapahoe, Douglas, or Weld County, is a frustrating charge because in some ways it seems like a “catch-all”. It can be a very subjective determination as to what it means to threaten someone, or what it means to attempt to place them in fear of serious bodily injury. The law doesn’t require that they ACTUALLY be afraid, so it is a fairly low standard of proof for prosecutors. The “victim” does not even need to see the attempt to put them in fear. Additionally, perception plays a huge role in menacing. Whereas the alleged victims in this case believed (from across the street) that the former judge was holding a knife, he claims he was holding his keys. Who is to say what the truth is, absent another witness?
If you have been confronted by the Aurora, Denver, or Thornton police, and they are accusing you of menacing, you need an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, a conviction will stay on your criminal record and haunt you forever. Do not fight these charges alone. Be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call the O’Malley Law Office today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.