Legal Issues

Staff Photo / El Paso County

Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa has been indicted by a grand jury on nine counts, including six felony charges and three misdemeanors.  Also named in the indictment are former Undersheriff Paula Presley on all nine charges, as well as former Commander Juan "John" San Agustin on two counts.

Charges include extortion, tampering with a witness or victim, second degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and official misconduct.

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A jury has found the Life Care Center of Pueblo and its Tennessee-based parent company negligent in the death of Sophia Alcon. According to Brent Moss, Alcon family attorney, Ms. Alcon, 77, spent several months at the center before her death in 2013. He says she experienced bruising, weight loss, and a urinary tract infection among other issues during her residence there.

Debtors' prisons have long been illegal in the United States. But many courts across the country still send people to jail when they can't pay their court fines. Last year, the Justice Department stepped in to stop the practice in Ferguson, Mo. And now, in a first, a U.S. city will pay out thousands of dollars to people who were wrongly sent to jail.

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A bill is making its way through the statehouse that would allow judges to reexamine the cases of juveniles sentenced to life without parole. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it is unconstitutional for minors to have no possibility of parole except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the city of Longmont's hydraulic fracturing ban and the moratorium in Fort Collins Monday. The state's highest court said that Longmont's ban conflicts with state law and is invalid and unenforceable. The court ruled that state law also preempts the moratorium in Fort Collins.

Holly Pretsky / KRCC

 
According to a 2015 survey by a local advocacy group, there are more than 1,000 people experiencing homelessness in Colorado Springs. In the city, a new law that some say targets the homeless has now entered its enforcement phase.


Field Outdoor Spaces / Flickr/Creative Commons

A bill that would allow people to collect rain that falls from their rooftops remains hung up in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee after the chair said he wasn't comfortable with the measure. It's not clear when the committee will vote on it.

The same thing happened last year when the rain barrel bill vote was delayed. And while the bill eventually cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee over the objections of the Republican chair, it failed on the final day of the 2015 legislative session when time ran out.

KRCC

Several police reform measures are making their way through the statehouse, and lawmakers are also looking at how best to address the problem of sexting among teenagers.

More than a year after Nebraska and Oklahoma sought to sue Colorado over the carry-over effects of that state's law making recreational marijuana legal, the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the two states' complaint.

The court did not explain its decision, with which Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas disagreed. Thomas wrote a five-page dissent in which Alito joined (a reminder: the court is currently at eight members).

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the leading voice of uncompromising conservatism on the nation's highest court, was found dead Saturday, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed. Scalia, who had been staying at a luxury ranch in West Texas, was 79 years old.

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Bente Birkeland/RMCR

The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether local cities in Colorado can either ban hydraulic fracturing or declare a moratorium.

The chamber was filled with a who's who in the energy world, from policy experts and state and city officials, to top attorneys and environmental activists, highlighting the importance of the cases.

Pool video/KUSA

The accused gunman in last month's shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic is facing more than 150 separate charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder. 

57-year-old Robert Dear had a number of outbursts during Wednesday's court appearance, calling himself a "warrior for the babies," and saying he doesn't want a psychological evaluation.

After the proceedings, District Attorney Dan May said he would not comment on the defendant's behavior.  May also said he has time to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty.

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  • A man who set off a small explosion near the NAACP office in Colorado Springs earlier this year has been sentenced to five years in federal prison. 44-year-old Thaddeus Murphy pleaded guilty in August to arson under an agreement with prosecutors, saying he was not targeting the nation's oldest civil rights organization.
     
  • It’s Election Day, and so far it appears statewide turnout will be relatively low. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol...

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