Glitch In The System

I posted this to our law firm FB page yesterday (2/23/16) and already, it's received 1,562 views and numerous comments.  I will keep sharing information like this so that people (advocacy groups, policy makers, law enforcement, district/city attorneys, judges, to name a few) understand that once we get Law enforcement citing drivers appropriately (as was done here) we need City and District Attorneys to stick to those charges rather than pleading them down to worthless nothing-ness AND we need judges to render adequate sentences on those charges.  

This is another concerning instance in which the collision was dismissively treated as "just an unfortunate accident."  The driver suffered one driving point and a $174 fine.  


Broomfield residents/cyclists take note - this is the official position of The Broomfield City and County Attorney-- in response to my complaint that when my cyclist/client was struck by a motorist -and the motorist was appropriately cited with careless driving causing injury by Broomfield Police Department - at the court hearing, the City Attorney decided to give the driver a reduced charge of "defective headlamp" (a 1 point violation with minor fine) and deprived my client of the chance to speak/be present at sentencing AND deprived her of any shot at restitution (often needed if the driver's insurance isn't enough)...

I understand charges and their associated points and penalties was a topic of discussion at the Bicycle Colorado Colorado Bike Summit this year and my commentary remains the same - if DAs and CAs are going to plead down a 4 point to a meaningless 1 point violation, it DOES NOT MATTER what the legislature does to the careless driving causing injury statute.

MORAL OF THE STORY BELOW: so long as the driver has a clean record and stays at the scene and shows remorse, and so long as they have insurance (whether it pays or pays adequately being irrelevant, apparently) then the driver deserves to get off with a puny fine and 1 point violation.

Cyclist: she is a US Veteran - and yes, she suffered severe injury in this collision.


"Dear Ms. Hottman,

Mr. Frundt forwarded to me your email concerning our office’s disposition of Broomfield Municipal Court case 15T804679 People vs. Mr. ____. Cases are evaluated and pleas determined on an individual basis. Like all prosecutors, lawyers in the City and County Attorney’s Office are invested with prosecutorial discretion as to how a case should be handled.

In review of case 15T804679 the following facts were considered:

- The age and driving record of the individual cited. Mr. ____ is 79 years old and has not had a traffic ticket in 11 years.

- The circumstances contributing to the accident. This was a collision which occurred at a four way stop sign after all parties had made a complete stop. The estimated speed of the vehicle at impact was 5-10 mph. Mr. ____ entered the intersection headed west at approximately 4:15pm on November 2, 2015. Ms. ___ (cyclist) was crossing the intersection on her bicycle from the south to the north. The accident report indicated the weather was clear. Sunset on November 2, 2015 occurred at 4:57pm indicating the sun was likely a contributing factor. 

- The behavior of the parties immediately following the accident. All reports indicate Mr. ____ immediately stopped to assist Ms. ____ and was cooperative in the investigation.

- The availability of liability insurance for the motorist. Mr. _____ had valid insurance at the time of the accident with Twin City Fire expiring on 3/14/2016.

- The injuries to the parties. My understanding is that Ms. _____ broke her leg as a result of the accident.

Although these factors can be weighed differently, I have spoken with Mr. Frundt and believe that appropriate thought and consideration was given to all of the facts and circumstances when the plea disposition was determined.

In motor vehicle accident cases where the cited driver has valid liability insurance, Broomfield’s practice is not to notify the other parties unless the matter is set for trial. As you have correctly stated, careless driving resulting in bodily injury is not a victim’s right case and the law does not require the prosecuting attorney to notify other parties. I believe that our current practices strike an appropriate balance between providing individual attention to the criminal component of each case while maintaining the efficiencies necessary for a court that handles over 5000 cases a year.

With respect to restitution, while you may disagree with the decision, the prosecutor did not seek restitution because there was a policy of insurance in place to compensate the victim. If you and your client felt that the insurance company was not adequately compensating your client for her damages, the civil courts are available to resolve that disagreement. I have evaluated and considered the information you provided, but at this time our office is not inclined to reopen the case. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.


Bill Tuthill

City and County Attorney"