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Beyond Contempt

A judge and a prosecutor in Gilpin County are after a new breed of criminals: jurors and defense attorneys.

A pre-trial conference in Peterson's contempt case is set for January 24. If it proceeds to trial, Peterson's old boss, Clear Creek County District Attorney Pete Michaelson, says he expects to be called as a character witness. Peterson, the DA says, "was a good prosecutor and was successful in most of the cases he tried."

Peterson did have "some problems," Michaelson admits. "He tended toward lateness, which is an irritant. And he did have battles with one particular judge--now retired. But then, all of us did."

Michaelson says he has filed contempt charges against a fellow attorney only twice in his career as a prosecutor. "Sometimes you feel an opponent has crossed the line," he says. He withdrew the charges in one case; the other, Michaelson says, "is dying of old age" because he neglected to pursue it.

But the DA says he hates to see his old friend caught up in similar circumstances. "If he did what they said, I guess he needs to be punished," says Michaelson. "But if he did what they said, I will be tremendously disappointed and sad to hear it.

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