"It's finally over," says Kurt Riggin about his twisted legal odyssey. He'd originally been accused of attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation in Park County stemming from advocacy on behalf of a medical marijuana patient who claimed law enforcement was harassing him. But the case was dropped yesterday, a month after the Colorado Supreme Court rejected contempt charges against him.
As we've noted, Riggin is a member of the Federal Bar Association who represents several Native American tribes in a legal capacity. However, Colorado hasn't licensed him to practice law here -- and in 2008, the Supreme Court accepted a judge's recommendation that he be barred from serving as an attorney in the state.
The following October, Riggin and medical marijuana advocate Timothy Tipton headed to Park County, where the aforementioned patient, a Tipton pal, said reps of the local sheriff's office were hassling him because he dared treat his pancreatic cancer with medical marijuana. Riggin responded by filing what he calls "an informal administrative complaint" against a Park County deputy. When asked if he was an attorney, he answered in the affirmative and mentioned his Federal Bar Association membership -- but he stressed that he "wasn't there to represent anyone." Nonetheless, he was subsequently arrested for allegedly misrepresenting himself as a lawyer licensed to practice law in Colorado.
A solid year later, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Riggin, based largely on a recording of the conversation in question. It supported Riggin's contention that he said he wasn't representing the patient.
This decision cut the legs from underneath the initial Park County complaints. And yesterday, the case was finally put out of its misery, much to Riggin's relief. After all, as he notes, "It's been well over a year" since the ordeal began -- so long that he can't even remember when it all started. "I think I was arrested last March or April, somewhere around there," he says.
Oh, yeah: The deputy the patient said had been harassing him is no longer employed by Park County, and the corporal who interviewed Riggin has been demoted.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Medical marijuana persecution vs. improper law practice: CO Supreme Court slaps Kurt Riggin."
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