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Two weeks after a Lincoln County judge yanked 18th Judicial District and state prosecutors off a death penalty case, citing several ethical violations, the Office of the Colorado Attorney General has filed its own motion to withdraw from the case.
The motion gives no reasons for the request and is hastily captioned "Motion for Withdrawl." But it's a clear effort by members of the AG's Capital Crimes Unit to wash their hands of the mess. District Attorney Carol Chambers has said she'll appeal Judge Stanley Brinkley's ruling, which removed all employees of her office from the prosecution of Alejandro Perez, a state inmate accused of killing another prisoner at the Limon Correctional Facility in 2004. Previous coverage can be found here and here.
Brinkley found that prosecutors had failed to disclose conflicts of interest in the case, filed misleading court documents and adopted a dubious system of billing the state corrections agency for the entire salary of Chambers' chief deputy assigned to the case; Chambers, no stranger to controversy, takes issue with the ruling.
The AG's decision to fold up its tents and "drawl" elsewhere comes shortly after a Hugo jury declined to vote for execution for Perez co-defendant David Bueno, who was convicted of the prison slaying shortly after Brinkley put the Perez prosecution back to square one. Chambers' office is 0-2 on the prison homicide but is currently pursuing four other death penalty cases. — Alan Prendergast