Colorado police, sheriff’s deputies, probation officers and district attorneys are great at this game. In fact, they’ve even gotten Colorado lawmakers into it. The game of hot potato involves getting the potato to another responsible person without getting burned (or caught). In the legal world, DAs, Courts, and Police operate under the idea of passing a criminal case on to someone else as quickly as possible. This reduces the risk of a complaint and the loss of someone’s job.
Police are the First to Pass the Potato
In Arapahoe, Jefferson and Denver County, the game starts with a cop or police officer getting a call and having to confront someone who may have committed a crime. Rather than give a guy a break in an uncertain case, police quickly issue a summons or make an arrest, and pass the defendant off to the jail or court as quickly as possible. If a thorough investigation is done before pressing charges, a victim may complain and then the police will look bad. Complaints are bad for careers. So, their moto is “support the person who called police first” and get rid of the case as fast as possible. Police want to let the DA decide how the case should be handled, since this is risk free.
Next, the defendant (charged person) who is in custody / jail is brought before a judge for a bond setting. DAs won’t look closely at the case and study whether charges should even be brought. They quickly set a bond, believing everything the “victim” says. This is much safer for a DA’s career and the case moves forward quickly, preventing a DA from being burned (complained against).
District Attorneys Like to Pass to the Jury – This is Safer
At this point, even if there is no evidence other than a “victim’s” word, the case is set for trial unless a defendant will plead guilty to something. It is not dismissed, or the “victim” will feel unsupported, and may complain. This is especially the case in Douglas and Logan County Domestic Violence cases, where victim’s rights groups get in a frenzy if DAs do the right thing and dismiss a case with little or no evidence. Once a case is set for trial, DAs breathe a sigh of relief, because the case will soon be in the hands of a jury. Juries are unaccountable. No one in law enforcement gets into trouble if a jury decides the accused is innocent.
A Real Life Example of the Game
We recently had a case in Adams County which totally fell apart in front of a jury. The alleged victim, who was nine years old, made up a huge, unbelievable story in front of the jury while testifying. Even the detective in the case said he did not know what she was talking about. In addition, we caught her in an elaborate lie which she earlier made to the detective. Yet, even in the face of zero victim credibility, the two District Attorneys were unwilling to do the right thing and dismiss the case. It was clear to me they felt this was too risky for their careers. The case had to be decided by the jury, despite the waste of valuable jury and court time.
Don’t let DAs, Courts, and Police play hot potato with your life on the line. You have too much to lose. Instead, always remain silent and call our lawyers at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.