Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett was appointed as special prosecutor after lawyer David Lane accused Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden of breaking the law by talking about a child-abuse investigation focused on Richard and Mayumi Heene, parents of Balloon Boy Falcon Heene. Yesterday, Garnett decided not to file charges against Alderden, writing in a letter about his decision, "Although Sheriff Alderden references the fact that the Department of Social Services has become involved, he discloses no data or information obtained from a Department of Social Services report, nor does he improperly release any identifying information obtained from records or reports of child abuse."
This rationale leaves Lane thoroughly unconvinced. "For Stan Garnett to say the sheriff didn't release any identifying information when he's having a press conference on the Heene family and the Heene children, and saying the parents are being investigated for child abuse, flies in the face of reality as far as I can tell. This is typical law-enforcement-investigating-law-enforcement and finding law enforcement did nothing wrong."
Lane doesn't have many options regarding to an appeal of the decision, joking, "Someone needs to start the revolution, but unfortunately, I'm really busy." More interesting, however, is Lane's response to a question about long-delayed charges against the Heenes for allegedly hoaxing the public in the runaway balloon caper. Lane encourages me to send him my e-mail address so that he can include me on a blast that sounds as if it'll be coming soon. "Stay tuned," he says.
Given Richard Heene's thirst for TV fame, that's a very appropriate phrase.
Update, 11:10 a.m.: Here's how Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett counters David Lane's argument about his decision not to charge Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden with wrongdoing:
"The issue in the statute is preventing people from divulging information they've learned from Social Services. But if you know information from a source other than Social Services, such as 'I referred somebody to Social Services because of something I saw with my neighbor's kid,' that doesn't violate the statute. And in the case of the sheriff, these are things he knew independently, apart from something he learned from a Social Services file or a report. And for him to state that knowledge doesn't violate the statute."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.