Friday, July 14, 2017

Maketa retrial hearing date set

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 10:58 AM

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
On July 16, we might learn more about whether the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office will retry former Sheriff Terry Maketa on charges left on the table when a jury deadlocked earlier this week.

That's when the parties are due in court to discuss how the case will proceed, or if it will.

Because the judge's gag order remains in place, prosecutors can't discuss what they'll do at this time.

Maketa has long been under fire for his activities as sheriff, starting in 2010 with this report by the Independent ("Star treatment," Cover story, March 11, 2010), and continuing four years later with this Indy report ("Something missing," Cover story, January 29, 2014) about a missing internal affairs file belonging to Sheriff Bill Elder. A media blitz followed, with the Gazette's publication of sordid emails between Maketa and an employee and a selfie of Maketa with his shirt off.

In May 2016, a grand jury handed down the indictment against Maketa. After a trial that lasted more than a week, the jury returned a verdict on July 11. Here's a release from the 18th Judicial District DA's Office, which took over the case after local DA Day May recused, saying he wanted to avoid a conflict of interest due to his office's links to the Sheriff's Office on numerous cases. Both May and Maketa are Republicans, but Maketa supported May's opponent when he was elected.
An El Paso County jury today found former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa not guilty of three charges that he misused the power of his office, but they could not come to agreement on four charges.

Maketa was acquitted of tampering with a witness/victim (class 4 felony); conspiracy to commit tampering (class 5 felony); and one count of first-degree official misconduct (class 2 misdemeanor).

The jury could not come to agreement on charges of extortion (class 4 felony); conspiracy to commit extortion (class 5 felony); and two counts of first-degree official misconduct (class 2 misdemeanor).

The charges stem from an investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation into allegations that Maketa used his position to punish people who crossed him.

The case was presented to the El Paso County Grand Jury, which returned indictments against Maketa, Undersheriff Paula Presley and Inspector Juan San Agustin on May 25, 2016. The District Attorney’s Office of the 18th Judicial District was appointed special prosecutor, with Assistant District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Deputy District Attorney Wilcox trying the cases before the 4th Judicial Court Judge Larry Schwartz.

Hurlbert thanked the court and the jury for the opportunity to try the case.

“These were legitimate allegations that were taken seriously by the people of El Paso County,” he said. “We respect the judicial process and appreciate the conscientious work of the jury.”

The cases against Presley and San Agustin are pending; those defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
If you're interested in some outside the mainstream impressions of the Maketa trial, check out this website being run by foes of Sheriff Elder. One point made on this website comes from a statement from prosecutor Mark Hurlbert after the trial when he thanks the El Paso County Sheriff's Office for putting in a lot of work on the investigation. Dirtyelder.com says, officials have said the Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation, as noted in the press release above. The website asserts without citing a legal source that the Sheriff's Office's involvement could pose a conflict of interest.

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