Cory Voorhis, ex-ICE agent, loses initial bid to get his job back

Former ICE agent Cory Voorhis's 2006 decision to access a restricted database and give materials to gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez wound up having unexpected repercussions years later. Some observers feel fallout from this action contributed to Governor Bill Ritter's decision not to run for a second term, not to mention Stephanie Villafuerte's withdrawal from the U.S. Attorney sweepstakes.

Voorhis was fired for passing the aforementioned info to Beauprez, but he was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing. Since then, he's been fighting to get his old job back -- and over two days in late January, he made his case before Merit Systems Protection Board Judge Jeremiah Cassidy. Read Westword's coverage of day one by clicking here; access day two's account here.

A ruling in the case was expected in thirty to 45 days. Only this week, however, did Voorhis learn that Judge Cassidy had ruled against him.

Although Voorhis declines to comment about this development, his attorney, Tom Muther offers a brief response. "Obviously, we're really disappointed with the judge's ruling," he says. "We don't agree with it, and we're going to be appealing the decision."

Cassidy's ruling -- read it here -- represents a lopsided victory for the Department of Homeland Security, the agency Voorhis targeted in the case. Many of the arguments directly echo those made in DHS's closing brief, with nary a nod to the assertions made in by Voorhis's team in its own closing brief.

Subsequent documents suggest that Voorhis's attorneys felt put upon during the process. Take this passage from the appellant's response to an agency motion to "introduce evidence not readily available during the hearing." The passage reads:

While it is unfortunate that Agency counsel seems content to blindly impugn the credibility of all individuals involved in the representation of Mr. Voorhis while simultaneously defending the credibility of an Agency-identified perjurer, such are the choices that have defined the prosecution of Appellant throughout both the criminal and administrative proceedings. It should, therefore, be no surprise that such behavior continues even after the hearing.

The tone is much more polite in the conclusion to the closing brief linked above. It wraps up with the following:

SA Voorhis is a U.S. military veteran who served honorably in support of the 1991 Gulf War. He is a former member of the U.S. Border Patrol who survived a violent personal assault and attack on his person which resulted in an on-duty shooting that was ruled to be justified. He is a longtime employee and member of ICE and a legacy agency that helped to create and form the Department of Homeland Security. He is a mature and responsible agent who has led and successfully completed investigations of the highest level and complexity with interstate and international impact. He is highly respected by his supervisors and co-workers at the Denver ICE office and he enjoys the support of many members of the Denver community.

SA Voorhis respectfully asks that you review the charges against him and find that he has not engaged in the misconduct that has been alleged against him. Further, to the extent that you find that SA Voorhis inadvertently engaged in any of the misconduct alleged, he ask that you give due consideration to the facts presented above and exercise your considerable discretion in a favorable manner and allow him to remain employed with the Agency as a Senior Special Agent.

That dream has not been granted thus far. But Voorhis lives to fight another day.

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