January 15, 2008

Perjury: A Cancer on Ritter

There were 11 prosecutions for perjury in Colorado over the last two years. Gross failure to investigate and prosecute perjury is a cancer on the state. The dirty little secret of perjury is that it is as often used to convict the innocent as it is used to interfere with the prosecution of the guilty.

Don't believe it? Ask any cop but a rookie cop if he has ever been asked by a prosecutor to withhold an inconvenient truth while on the witness stand.

Based on newspaper reports, it appears that one of the witnesses against ICE agent is withholding an inconvenient truth:

In court today, Jeff Copp, the special agent in charge of the Denver ICE office, testified that he received a call from the director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation that month, asking him to question Voorhis about why he accessed the database.

Copp said he didn't believe Voorhis had done anything wrong. He was surprised when the agent came into his office and said he had retained a lawyer, who had advised him not to answer questions.

Jeff Copp is a federal law enforcement officer with enough experience that he supervises other law enforcement officers. He was conducting an investigation at the request of the Director of the CBI. The CBI suspected that Cory Voorhis was the leaker.

If Copp actually believed that Voorhis had done nothing wrong, he had an obligation to tell the CBI that and to refuse to participate. Federal agents can tell state officials to go pound sand, and routinely do so.

The fact that Copp was voluntarily participating in the investigation strongly suggests that Copp considered Voorhis a prime subject.

Correct procedure would have been for Copp to call Voorhis in and read him his rights before beginning his questioning. Miranda requires that. Copp, like every other police and military officer in the nation doubtless carries his own personal laminated copy of the Miranda warning in his back pocket.

The penalty for ignoring Miranda is suppression of the evidence collected. Care to bet that this prosecution cannot go forward if this evidence is suppressed. That is why Copp is trying to be clever with his testimony.

There is supposed to be a penalty for any lawyer, including a prosecutor, who knowingly allows a witness to put forward false testimony, but that part of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct is routinely ignored.

Copp's statement that he didn't believe that Voorhis had done anything wrong is not supported in any way by his actions. It has the foul stench of perjury. He ought to be both prosecuted and fired.

It seems that Bill Ritter is vicious enough that he is willing to promote both selective prosecution and the perjury necessary to make the prosecution stick.

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