Broncos Heir John Bowlen Appeals Bizarre DV Conviction on Technicality

John Bowlen's Glendale mug shot. Additional images and more below.
John Bowlen's Glendale mug shot. Additional images and more below.
Glendale Police Department

Update: John Bowlen can't leave well enough alone.

In April, Bowlen, the son of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen (and possible future owner of the team), was found guilty in a strange June 2015 domestic-violence incident that involved alcohol, whippets and a 911 call during which he declared himself to be the "blood of the city"; see our previous coverage below.

Now, Bowlen is appealing based on a technicality involving the alleged absence of a statute number on his citation.

The sentence Bowlen received — 24 months' probation, plus domestic-violence treatment and evaluations for drugs, alcohol and mental health — hardly represents draconian punishment. Yet Bowlen has unleashed the law firm of Harvey Steinberg, the attorney of choice for generations of Broncos in trouble, to tackle his misdemeanor conviction one more time.

The twelve-page opening brief shared here restates a theory the jury didn't buy — that his then-girlfriend "made up the allegations against the defendant because he was breaking up with her, and she knew that the allegations would cause him trouble due to his public status as a member of the Bowlen family."

John Bowlen on the sidelines during a Broncos game.
John Bowlen on the sidelines during a Broncos game.
CBS via YouTube

But the crux of the argument involves the two original offenses noted on the summons given to him last year: harassment and telecommunications crime, both described as "an act of domestic violence." The Bowlen brief notes that count two was eventually dismissed after the judge in the case denied a prosecution request to amend it — and now the attorneys maintain that his conviction under the first charge should be "vacated because the complaint...failed to state an offense, and the county court accordingly lacked jurisdiction."

How so? Because, writes 18th Judicial District DA's office communications director Vikki Migoya, "the officer who arrested him did not include a parenthetical subsection when writing the number of the criminal-harassment statute on the summons and complaint."

The DA's office answer brief, also included in this post, takes even more pages — 23 of them — to refute this theory. The gist: Bowlen had "actual knowledge" (the italics are in the original) of the proper subsection of the law that applied to him. Moreover, that knowledge "was based on the original harassment charge, the original statutory citation, defense counsel's involvement in the investigation, motions testimony months before trial, and discovery provided." With that in mind, "the People respectfully request that this Court AFFIRM Bowlen's conviction."

Bowlen's team has until Monday, September 12, to respond. After that, the district court will make its ruling, and if the decision goes against him, Bowlen can appeal again, this time to the Colorado Supreme Court.

That would definitely take the case into overtime. Look below to see Bowlen's brief and the prosecution's response, followed by our previous coverage.

Original post, 6:26 a.m. April 15: Last June, John Bowlen, son of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen (and the team's possible heir), was arrested following a domestic-violence incident allegedly fueled by alcohol and whippets — yes, nitrous-oxide chargers of the sort whose use even the most idiotic frat bros tend to outgrow by graduation.

Adding to the embarrassment of the matter was the release of police audio in which John claimed he was the current owner of the Broncos and referred to himself as the "blood of the city," whatever the hell that means.

We've shared the audio here for your listening pleasure.

In the end, Bowlen was charged with harassment — and even though he was represented by attorney Harvey Steinberg, who has a well-deserved reputation for getting Broncos out of trouble with the law, a jury has found him guilty.

As detailed in arrest reports also on view below, the incident took place in an apartment at 4550 Cherry Creek Drive South.

Bowlen's girlfriend of ten months told police in Glendale, which has jurisdiction in the area, that she'd dialed 911 because after drinking and inhaling whippets, John had announced that he'd killed someone.

A screen capture of John Bowlen at a Broncos game.
A screen capture of John Bowlen at a Broncos game.

Who? Supposedly someone "with whom he'd had prior contact" — and his statement apparently freaked out his girlfriend enough to make her run to the bathroom and punch in the aforementioned three digits.

The arrest report maintains that John reacted by shoving her against a wall, causing her to drop her cell phone, which he then grabbed.

Moments later, the 911 operator rang the line and John answered. He told the operator, "This is the owner of the Denver Broncos. I am sorry. Nothing is wrong. This is John Bowlen; Johnny Bowlen."

By the way, Bowlen was working as a corporate-partnerships coordinator for the Broncos at the time.

John Bowlen on the sideline during a Broncos game.
John Bowlen on the sideline during a Broncos game.

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The "nothing is wrong" assertion might have been more convincing had a woman not been heard screaming in the background. No wonder the cops rushed to the scene. The affidavit says she was crying in the bathroom upon officers' arrival and was "in fear for her safety and in shock at the time."

During the phone call, Bowlen also made his "blood of the city" remark, talked up his friendship with Denver mayor Michael Hancock, referenced what he's been through taking care of his father (Pat has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's), maintained that his girlfriend had dialed 911 because "she is crazy" and had consumed seven beers despite weighing just 95 pounds, and declared, “I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t do anything, and I’m going to call Harvey."

He did — but despite Steinberg's legal wizardry, Bowlen was still found guilty by a jury in Arapahoe County yesterday.

The sentence: 24 months' probation, plus evaluations for drugs, alcohol and mental health, and what the 18th Judicial District DA's office refers to as domestic-violence "treatment and evolution."

Look below to see Bowlen's Arapahoe County mug shot, followed by the aforementioned audio, originally obtained by the Denver Post, and the arrest documents.

John Bowlen.
John Bowlen.
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

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