George Brauchler Blows Another One

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler (R).

CBS4 Denver reports on a disturbing case out of El Paso County, involving a former sheriff’s deputy who copped a plea and avoided prison time after he created and solicited child pornography:

A former El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy who created a pornographic image involving a young boy took a plea deal that allowed him to avoid prison time…

[Donald] Fair pleaded guilty to one count of sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, a Class 4 felony. Under Colorado law, there is no mandated prison time for that charge. Instead, Fair was sentenced to sex offender intensive supervised probation for 10 years to life. Fair must register as a sex offender.

And which prosecutor gave ex-Deputy Donald Fair a plea deal that allowed him to stay out of prison, you ask?

“This outcome is the best we could hope for in this case under current Colorado law,” District Attorney George Brauchler said. “A young innocent child is not further traumatized by testifying and being cross-examined during a trial, and the perpetrator is monitored and given therapy to keep the community safe… For this case, for this moment, for these facts, this is justice.”

Ipso facto, a plea agreement means that this is not the “best” we could hope for under current law, presuming as we should that the best course is the harshest available penalty for a very serious crime committed by a sworn law enforcement officer. We understand prosecutors have discretion and every case is different–but if you’re not going to hold accountable law enforcement when they heinously break the law…well, who do you hold accountable?

It’s a question we find ourselves asking over and over again about Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, whose time in office before his abortive run for governor that was downgraded to a run for attorney general has been marked by a series of high-profile prosecutorial failures. This is, after all, the same George Brauchler who failed to win a death sentence against the Aurora theater shooter, subjecting survivors and families to months of needless suffering–much like Brauchler claims the victim in this latest case would suffer in court.

Another huge failure by Brauchler was the attempted prosecution of former local GOP darling and El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who escaped multiple felony charges after a bumbling effort by Brauchler’s office after the case was punted to him from the similarly inept El Paso County DA. There’s a consistent theme emerging in Brauchler’s highest-profile cases of incompetence that lets both crooks and bad cops off the hook. Needless to say, that’s very bad for someone running to be the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

If he wants to change that impression, we would suggest Brauchler focus on winning some cases.

22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Am I the only one to sniff hypocrisy when Pols, which is fanatically opposed to the death penalty, beats up on Brauchler for "failing to win a death sentence" against a mas s murderer?

    No?  I didn't so.

    • Davie says:

      While the sentence could easily be interpreted that way to the average observer unfamiliar with this site, I think we know that Pols is beating up on Brauchler for pursuing the death penalty when they had a guilty plea for life without parole already in hand, thus "subjecting survivors and families to months of needless suffering".

      • Voyageur says:

        I don't know that, Davie.  I think the dead govs are so eager to beat up on Brauchler that they will play both ends against the middle.

        I also don't believe that the most Draconian possible prison sentence is "ipso facto" the best outcome in a pornography case.  Really?

         The "harshest available penalty" is the only acceptable outcome?  

        I don't believe that and I'm sure you don't either, Davie.

        • Davie says:

          Well, it is hard for me to defend a pedophile cop who created kiddie porn with a live boy.  I'll just leave it at that.

        • unnamed says:

          I'm not sure I do either.  But I do think he should have gone to prison for it.

          • mamajama55 says:

            Agreed. And serial child molesters / sex assaulters are one of the few cases where I think life without parole is warranted. Otherwise, they're just going to game the system and re-offend as soon as they possibly can.

            What would have happened if the offender had been black?

            • Voyageur says:

              So, you're seriously suggesting life without parole in a pornography case — there was no claim of sexual assault or molestation —  pro vided only that the offender is white ?


              • mamajama55 says:

                If you read the article, there was sexual exploitation of a child. He made a porn image of  the boy.

                Without knowing any more about it than that, I can guarantee you that this was not the first nor only time this man sexually exploited a child. Research shows that child sexual abusers are multiple and repeat offenders.

                Of course, there would have to be evidence and due process, probably of mutiple or severe offenses,  before someone would or should be sentenced to life in prison. I’m not by any means suggesting that someone who views consensual adult porn should be punished somehow. But children cannot give informed consent.

                So even if this particular crime (of showing a pornographic image of a child) were the only one with any evidence or victims willing to testify, the perp should do some prison time, lose the ability to be a law enforcement officer, have the stigma of being a sex offender.

                The last two are the only penalties he's incurring, and we know that there are some police departments in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and southern states who would absolutely hire him anyway.

                So yes, the sentence is too light, and yes, I do think that the consequences would absolutely be more severe if the perp were black. I have no power to affect this particular verdict, but I may be on a jury in the near future, and yes, I would prioritize the safety of the community, particularly of children, over giving a known predator the benefit of the doubt.

                Please review the
                Golden Police Dept’s “Facts and statistics about sex offending”
                research on sex offenders.

                And kindly refrain from twisting my words into ridiculous hypotheticals.

                • Voyageur says:

                  I'm not twisting anything, I'm quoting you.  Your God-like powers "guarantee" the accused is guilty of multiple offenses — even though the judge reports the victim "may not even have been aware" that the crime occurred.

                  What does the damn judge know about the case anyway?  You read three sentences on a blog and knew immediately he deserved life without parole, primarily because he was white .  

                  Think of all the money we'd save if we just dropped trials entirely and just went with your "guaranted" knowledge of events you can't possibly know jack shit about.

                  • mamajama55 says:

                    I've enjoyed our mini-detente and being able to read and respond to your posts again. However, you seem determined to go back down that path of unjustified personal attacks in service of ….what? don't even know.

                    So I guess I'll have to go back to ignoring your ravings.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      You falsely accused a man of sexual assault and molestation, specific crimes he did not commit, then "guaranteed" he had commited multiple offenses, because, you know, you read an article somewhere.  Yet his offense was simply creating pornography and there was no evidence of multiple examples of even that.  The judge even said the victim may not have known about the crime. 

                      but you, based on your god-like powers, "guaranteed" he committed multiple offenses.

                      you also fantasized that some day you would be on a jury where you would never give a defendant the "benefit of the doubt."

                      In fact jurors take an oath requiring them to follow the law – – and to acquit unless the prosecution proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt..

                      You know, that Constitution thingee?  It requires you to give a defendant the benefit of any reasonable doubt.

                      But then, your God-like powers supercede the Constitution.  Because the defendant is white, after all, and therefore deserves prison.  

                      Yeah, it has been nice to have a month of reasonable dialogue here.

                      But I'm not the one raving.  You just swore you would violate your oath as a juror because your God-like powers supercede the law.

                      Be sure to tell that to that stupid judge if you ever do get called for jury.  I'm sure she'll be as impressed with you as I am.

      • Colorado Pols says:

        Davie is correct. We will be clearer on this in the future.

        • Voyageur says:

          Davey is usually right, though I have occasionally questioned the wisdom of his belief that: "That idiot Santa Anna will never be able to take a fortress as powerful as the Alamo."

          • Davie says:

            I would be correct if we had a time machine and could transport Negev and a few of his more "enthusiastic" buddies on a one way trip back with a fraction of his personal arsenal.

    • spaceman65 says:

      Nothing hypocritical about being anti-death penalty and criticizing Brauchler for failing to win a death sentence in a trial that, because of his fucking idiotic decision to seek the death penalty, cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.  He wasted our money for nothing.  I'm happy about the outcome of the case, and disgusted by the fact that he sought death in the first place.  


  2. JohnInDenver says:

    Colorado Springs Gazette had some coverage on July 24, Updated Aug 2, 2018.

    The victim did not report the crime and may not have been aware that it occurred, [Chief Deputy 18th Judicial District Attorney Christopher] Gallo said. Forcing the child to take the stand at a trial could have increased trauma, Gallo told the judge….

    District Judge David A. Gilbert accepted the deal and imposed sentence, saying the prosecution had “solid reasons” against taking the case to trial.

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Suffice it to say that there are people who have committed a lot less serious crimes who received a lot more time than this guy in the 18th judicial district.

    Putting aside the merits – or more accurately, the lack thereof – of the plea disposition in the Fair case (what a misnomer), there is the sheer stupidity in Brauchler entering into a disposition like this at this point in time (i.e., when he was running for governor, or AG, or whatever).

    This combined with James Holmes coupled with the Shirtless Sheriff fiasco and you start to see a pattern…..

    Coming on the heels of the denunciation Brauchler received this past week from the RMGO, Phil Weiser has good reason to be smiling.

    • Davie says:

      I'll grant it was a tough case for the prosecutors, and ex-deputy Fair got a lucky break because as an experienced law officer, he probably was very familiar with the system and what the prosecutors could or could not win in court.  Your average Joe Shmoe pedophile would have been read the riot act and gotten at least some prison time.

    • Voyageur says:

      I would hope, RandR, that the sentence in a criminal case would not depend on whether the prosecutor was running for higher office.

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    Brauchler vs Weiser should be an entertaining match up.  I would pay to attend a debate between the two.  See how many cliche's Brauchler can put out versus Weiser's sharp wit.  This looks like a pick up opportunity for Dems/libs.  Shit in the face of every Trumper who hated Obama by electing someone who worked in the Obama whitehouse as the state's top lawyer.  What a refreshing change from the Coffman eras of self-interest and self-promotion.

    • Voyageur says:

      Brauchler/Weiser is also the state race where both parties have put up strong candidates — though I will admit that on the Republican side saying that Brauchler is the best the Rs have ain't saying much.

      Have you heard of any debates?  I'm sure DU law school would love to sponsor one.

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