I am really surprised!! Are there TWO SYSTEMS OF JUSTICE IN COLORADO?. Where has EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW GONE? I guess EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW HAS GONE WITH THE WIND. Do we need another Margaret Mitchell to write a new masterpiece titled “EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW HAS GONE WITH THE WIND?”
Let us all be honest and admit that in COLORADO there are now two systems of justice, one for ordinary folks and the other one, which is kinder, gentler and sweeter for judges, politicians, celebrities and other VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE! The Prosecutors rarely give Deferred Prosecutions to regular folks who have made a simple mistake or an error in judgment. Many times, I have asked for deferred prosecutions for my clients, who were just like Judge Mary Celeste (ONLY WITHOUT THE TITLE “JUDGE”,) but I was always DENIED. The excuse or “reason” given is that, “WE DO NOT GIVE DEFERRED PROSECUTIONS” OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT, OR THE PROSECUTORS WOULD ONLY LAUGH OR SNICKER AT MY BOLDNESS TO EVEN THINK OF ASKING FOR A DEFERRED PROSECUTION FOR MY ORDINARY FOLK CLIENTS.
It’s as if they are saying, “How dare you ask for a Deferred Prosecution for these ‘ordinary folks’ who are criminals as they have been charged with one or more crimes? These folks need to be PUNISHED AND DETERRED. An example must be made of these ordinary folks – these “criminals”. We cannot show mercy or compassion towards ordinary folks. The whole State of Colorado will be running wild committing crimes, just like Judge Mary Celeste, if we give out Deferred Prosecutions. These ordinary folks – these “criminals” have committed crimes so now they must be HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.”
But, when the “criminal,” oops, the “defendant” is one Judge Mary Celeste (a member of the BLACK ROBE SOCIETY) we will make an exception. We will give her the PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES. We will give her a Deferred Prosecution. We will give her a HAIL MARY PASS. After all, she serves the community. She is a Judge. She is making a SACRIFICE working as a Judge. She is a good person (unlike all the other ordinary folks) who just made one honest or stupid mistake; she was not thinking right due to the overwhelming stress and anxiety of JUDGING OTHERS; or, perhaps, it’s just that this act or behavior, on this one “rare” occasion, was totally out of character.
She is not like the rest of the ordinary folks who are just criminals and evil and MUST BE PUNISHED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW. We must make an exception. If we do not then the Judiciary will be tarnished. We must do right by Judge Mary Celeste. Judge Mary Celeste, oh Sweet Judge Mary Celeste, must be bestowed and honored with a Hail Mary – A Deferred Prosecution. We will not dismiss her case outright, we will wait for six months and then dismiss Judge Mary Celeste’ s case. Then, “We” can Boldly and Loudly Proclaim JUSTICE WAS DONE. HAIL TO EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW. HAIL TO THE FAIRNESS AND EQUALNESS IN COLORADO’s JUSTICE.
I ask that the Colorado Supreme Court, as the supervising entity over all Colorado Courts and Judges, and by extension, over all Colorado Prosecutors (as Officers of the Court) to require a full and detailed explanation (with evidence) from the Prosecutors to justify the Deferred Prosecution for this Judge. They also need to find out how many Deferred Prosecutions have been given, to whom, when, why and the name of the attorney in each such Deferred Prosecution case and what were the terms of the Deferred Prosecution. This is a SWEET HEART DEAL for a Member of Colorado Judiciary.
I had a similar case with less egregious circumstances (the time of the incident for my client was around 7:00 PM in the evening and the time span was less than 1/2 hour. In fact they were about to go to the car to find their child. It was an uphill task to get the DA in a front range county to dismiss the case. We finally got the case dismissed when the prosecutor (the third one) (a kind and gentle soul – whose last name was that of an ex president in the days long by) decided that my client had voluntarily completed parenting and child safety classes, installed child safety alarm in the vehicle ; incurred heavy legal costs, had a super clean record and had a whole list of exemplary witnesses who would have testified to my client’s abilities as a mother, parent and member of the community. It took several months to get the DA to dismiss the case.
Here, the Judge Mary Celeste knew the law. There is no excuse for a Judge to behave in this manner. It was in the afternoon, when the heat is at its peak. Having water or a fan running is not safe enough. Is the State Prosecutors saying that this behavior is acceptable if one has water in the vehicle and fan running. The purpose of leaving this small child was for this Judge to go “SHOPPING” a fabulous, and wonderful priority and essential activity to leave a small helpless and innocent child unattended in a locked car in the sweltering heat of a Colorado Summer.
People should know that a Deferred Prosecution is the next best thing to an outright dismissal. In a Deferred Prosecution, if Judge Mary Celeste stays out of trouble, waives speedy trial and speedy prosecution rights, and may be required to complete a child safety class and / or community service (I am not sure these were conditions). There is no conviction on her record, as of yet, unlike a Deferred Judgment Sentence. Only the prosecution is stayed for six months and if the Judge complies then the case is dismissed. Further, Prosecutors insist that the deferral period MUST BE AT LEAST A YEAR IF NOT TWO OR THREE OR FOUR YEARS. A six month Deferral period is rare like the CROWN JEWELS OF THE HOUSE OF WINDSORS IN ENGLAND.
If Judge Mary Celeste fails to comply, then all that happens is that the prosecution of her case will then start once again. During the period of this six months, Judge Mary Celeste will NOT be convicted of any crime. But in the case of a Deferred Judgment Sentence you plead GUILTY to a crime and will have a conviction during the period of the Deferred Judgment Sentence. However, in case of a Deferred Judgment Sentence, a judgment of conviction will enter and Sentence is imposed if one fails to comply with the terms of a Deferred Judgment Sentence and the conviction will remain on the poor ordinary folk’s record for a long time.
Oh, Honorable, Noble, and Beacons of Fair Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court please use your inherent Supervisory powers to examine the fairness that this member of the Judiciary is getting as compared to the vast majority of the ordinary folks of Colorado. Have other non members of the Judiciary or “ordinary” folks gotten such a SWEET HEART AND BELOVED DEAL? If the answer is “no” or “rarely” then you Keepers of Colorado ‘s Justice should order the Court before which this matter is to reject the plea and let Justice be done and served on this “not so upright” member of the Judiciary named Judge Mary Celeste. Please do not allow Mary Celeste to get a Hail Mary Pass. It is not right and fair to all the other law abiding members of the ordinary and hard working folks of Colorado and to the other ordinary folks, who like Judge Mary Celeste, made one stupid mistake or error in judgment had harsher terms imposed by the Prosecution.
Please do not sit back and do nothing. Your actions will either instill and increase the respect ordinary folks have for the Judiciary and Colorado’s system of Justice or will be one more nail to the coffin to Colorado’s “IN” justice system and will only prove why the people have such respect for Judges, the Judiciary, and the Justice System that former US Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Conner bemoaned the fall in respect for Judges and the Judiciary in that people now openly criticize the rulings and opinions of Judges.
A few years ago, some Judges may have “lied” on their respective CLE forms – claiming CLE credits when they were found playing golf. There was publicity for these Judges possible misconduct but no report of the action taken to discipline these possibly errant Judges.
Please do not let history repeat itself. If The Supreme Court Justices cannot or fail to properly self regulate all members of the Judiciary then the people MUST create an independent body to so regulate members of the Judiciary.
Judge Mary Celeste served the first salvo, the Prosecutors returned with a Deferred Prosecution. Now is the TIME TO ACT. Now it is up to you honorable Justices of the Colorado Supreme Court to be a true, fair and impartial referee and Let Freedom and Justice truly Ring.
I want to clarify that I do not intent to or in any form show any form of disrespect to the Judiciary, the Courts or Judges. I am a friend of the Judiciary, the Courts and Judges and just want that any perception of UNfairness or INJustice to ordinary folks is dispelled. Only appropriate, investigation which is complete, thorough, fair, transparent with full disclosure by the Supreme Court can effectively dispel such perceptions.