Public Eye 

Add it to the list of things you can count on: death, taxes and state Sen. MaryAnne Tebedo saying things that come out sounding really, really peculiar.

Tebedo's gaffes are infamous, and retold with relish. Remember the one about how, when 'teenagers' turn 25, their pregnancy rate declines? And how about the one where she got 'freaked out' because the U.S. Constitution had been suspended? Or how black girls are sexually promiscuous because it's part of their culture.

Yes, when Tebedo departs the statehouse at the end of this year (she's term-limited out), her sometimes incomprehensible remarks will likely be missed by colleagues. They certainly will be missed by the media.

In this vein, the Denver Rocky Mountain News last week honored Tebedo's latest revelation with a Feb. 2 quote of the day. During a debate on the floor of the Senate about a proposed gun law, Tebedo offered the following penny's worth to the debate.

'I also know that in some areas of the state of Colorado that it is almost a reality that a person can get arrested for blowing their nose while they're in their car waiting at a stop sign or something. It's pretty ridiculous on some of these arrest things.'

Yes, Senator. It can be pretty ridiculous on those arrest things sometimes. But, we're unaware of anywhere in the state where it's illegal to blow your nose at a stop sign.

But you never know. Perhaps Tebedo is thinking about introducing a bill to outlaw nose blowers at stop signs. Especially since her recent effort to kill daylight-saving time in Colorado failed to pass out of committee last week.

Speaking of the Legislature, have you noticed how Colorado often bucks the trends? The most recent example is Sen. Ray Powers' push for a state-sanctioned Grim Reaper in the form of a trial judge. Specifically, Powers is angry because the state isn't killing enough people. A few years ago, Powers and his colleagues passed a law taking death-penalty decisions away from the jury and placing it in the hands of a three-panel judge.

At the time, Powers, a staunch death-penalty supporter, was peeved because juries weren't doling out the death-penalty often enough for his liking. But now he's irked because the three-judge panel hasn't killed enough prisoners either.

So he wants just one judge, preferably one who knows how to tie a proper noose, to make the decision. But Powers also supports the idea of letting a majority jury -- 9 of 12 -- decide to kill a killer. That way, jurors who are unconvinced by the testimony presented to them don't get in the way of the majority. How's that for democracy?

Compare that to the state of Illinois where, last week, Republican Gov. George Ryan, previously a steady supporter of state-sanctioned executions, halted all executions in his state, citing a 'shameful record of convicting innocent people and putting them on death row.''

It is the first such moratorium in the nation, and Gov. Ryan noted that 13 innocent men have already been sent to death row in his state. Legal observers say that one common thread has already emerged as a major cause: poorly financed, often incompetent defense lawyers who failed to uncover and present crucial evidence.

Back in Colorado, we sure are establishing a different approach to state-sanctioning the Grim Reaper. But of course, there's a big difference -- at least some in power seem to think so -- between Colorado and Illinois. For example, our justice system is perfect.

When the Colorado Springs Police Department SWAT team surrounded the KXRM Fox 21 studio this week, they handcuffed some of the employees who emerged from the station until they were identified as non-suspects. Then they were released.

CSPD Lt. Skip Arms claims that innocent station employees were handcuffed 'for their safety.'

After the three-hour standoff ended, Arms explained the use of the cuffs: 'Things were happening so fast.' In these kinds of situations, when a suspect is inside a building with other people, cops are always worried that the guy with the gun will try to come outside and pass himself off as an innocent bystander. Thus the handcuffs on Fox employees who left the studio while the gunman was inside.

But is it really 'for their safety' that innocent people are shackled? Or is it so the cops don't accidentally let the bad guy get away in the confusion.

-- degette@csindy.com


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