Trial over Thanksgiving Day standoff ends with conviction for Denver man

The Sky-Hi News is reporting that a Grand County jury has found Brian Wilson guilty on all 24 charges stemming from a 2008 Thanksgiving Day standoff with police in Winter Park.  He has now been convicted on 5 counts of attempted murder with deliberate indifference, 6 counts of felony menacing, 2 counts of obstructing police, 3 counts of prohibited use of a weapon, obstructing a highway, driving under the influence and DUI per se.  More significantly, Wilson was convicted on 5 counts of committing a crime of violence, which will enhance the penalties for the attempted murder charges.

Wilson, 53, of Denver, faces 16 – 24 years in prison on each attempted murder count.

Wilson did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Arapahoe jury convicts sex offender | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that Steven Matthew Cook, 42, was convicted last week on 28 counts of sexual exploitation, sex assault, indecent exposure and other charges involving minors.  The incidents took place in Arapahoe County between October 1, 1999 and March 13, 2004 with victims younger than 15. 

Cook was previously convicted and sentenced to 10 years to life in prison in 2006.  An appeals court, however, reversed the original conviction and ordered a new trial, ruling that certain testimony should not have been allowed.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 13, 2010.

Cook did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Colorado State Trooper charged with drunk driving, BAC twice legal limit | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies made a shocking DUI arrest on Monday.

Concerned motorists reported the erratic driving behavior of a Colorado State Trooper who was in his marked police cruiser.  Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies intercepted the vehicle, made a traffic stop, and identified the driver as David Dolan, a 21-year veteran of the Colorado State Patrol.  Dolan, 49, was in uniform at the time of the arrest.

Trooper Dolan was taken to the police station where he provided a breath sample of .194—more than twice the legal limit in the state of Colorado.

Dolan was charged with driving under the influence, and prohibited use of weapons.  He was released on bond, and a hearing is set for this coming Monday.

Dolan did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Denver man arrested for pimping teenage girl | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that 33-year-old Adam Gurule was arrested today and charged with pimping out a young teenage female at a Denver home.  Details of the case are not being released in an effort to protect the identity of the teen victim.

Last October, Gurule was arrested for pandering of a child by arrangement and pimping of a child.  No charges were ever filed in those cases.

Gurule did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Teenagers rob Good Samaritan, strike in head with hammer | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that three Colorado Springs teenagers are being held in connection with the aggravated robbery of a 35 year-old woman. The incident occurred on Saturday in Colorado Springs. 

The teens, a 17 year-old boy, 14 year-old girl, and 12 year-old girl convinced the Good Samaritan to give them a ride to an apartment complex.  When they arrived, the trio coaxed the woman out of the car.  They then struck the Good Samaritan in the head with a hammer multiple times.  She fell to the ground and the attack continued with kicks to her body.  The trio fled in the victim’s vehicle.

The Good Samaritan quickly reported the incident.  Police recovered the vehicle, arrested all three teens, and located a hammer within the boy’s possession.

The trio did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Example of burdens of proof in a criminal case | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

It’s a warm summer night and a homeowner has phoned 911 to report a burglary.  The homeowner says the burglar was wearing a mask, sweatshirt, and was carrying a bag.  The homeowner reports a missing DVD player his wife’s necklaces.

Minutes later a police officer observes a man running just two blocks from the homeowner’s address.  The man is wearing a dark sweatshirt and sweatpants, there is mud on his pants and shoes, and he has a bag over his shoulder. The officer now has reasonable suspicion to stop and identify this person.  However, there is not yet enough evidence (probable cause) to make an arrest.

The officer stops and questions the man and learns that he does not live in the area.  The officer observes that the man is visibly nervous and is sweating.  The officer looks inside the bag and sees electronics and jewelry.  The officer now has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and arrests the man.

A grand jury is later presented with the case.  If they believe that there is probable cause cause, then they will indict the case and send it to the district court.

In the district court, a jury is empaneled to hear the evidence.  To convict, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

A brief overview of burdens of proof | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Burden of proof is essentially the amount of proof needed to prove something.  The amount of proof changes depending on the type of case.  For example, to convict someone of a criminal offense and strip them of their freedom, you must have proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  This is the most proof required in any legal case—as it should be.

On the other hand, for a civil case where money is at issue, you need a “preponderance” of the evidence.  This is essentially enough evidence to tip the scales of justice only slightly.  Put another way, you will have a preponderance of the evidence if you have 51% of the evidence and the other side has 49%.

In between criminal and civil cases is “clear and convincing evidence”.  This is the amount of proof needed in child custody cases.  It’s less than the proof needed to take someone’s freedom away, but more than needed to win a money judgment against someone.

Burden of Proof | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorneys sometimes glaze over certain terms without making sure you fully understand them.  “Burden of proof” is one of those, and it will undoubtedly arise during your case.  This is one phrase that you must understand because can change depending on the type of case or even the proceeding.  The following is a brief overview of burdens of proof.

Criminal cases are more complicated

Criminal cases have three standards of proof: reasonable suspicion, probable cause and beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reasonable suspicion is the amount of evidence an officer needs to stop someone on the street and ask them questions.  For this, the officer must be able to articulate that a person has been, is, or is about to commit a crime.

Probable cause is the amount of evidence an officer needs to make an arrest.  This means that the officer must have probable cause, which is a reasonable belief that the person has committed a crime. Probable cause is not enough evidence to convict.  It is only the amount of evidence needed to make an arrest.  Probable cause is also the amount of evidence that a grand jury needs to indict a case.  This is why many cases are indicted, but fewer are able to be proven to a jury.

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the amount of evidence a prosecutor must present to a jury to obtain a conviction at trial.

Knowledge Center:

Example of burdens of proof in a criminal case.

Levels of proof chart: The following chart is helpful in explaining the levels of proof.

Undercover sting results in Eagle County morphine bust | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that Joshua Thurston, of Eagle County, was arrested on Tuesday for selling morphine.  Thurston, 27, has been charged with possession and distribution of a narcotic.  He allegedly sold a quantity of morphine pills to undercover police officers from his Eagle County home.

Thurston is being held in lieu of a $7,500 bond.

Thurston did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.

Suspected murderer receives 5 years on unrelated firearms charge | Denver Criminal Defense Attorney

The Denver Post is reporting that on March 11, 2010, Shun Lamar Birch was sentenced to 5 years in the Bureau of Prisons, by United States District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel. This case stemmed from a firearms charge alleging that Birch, a convicted felon, was illegally in possession of two guns. The weapons were found at his Aurora residence.

Birch is also charged with the December 2006 murder of Kalonniann Clark, a prosecution witness in an unrelated case.  That case is currently set for trial in state district court.

Birch did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.