All posts by Rachel Eakins

Financial Forensic Report 7.12.2021

REQUESTS FOR POLICE INTERNAL AFFAIRS RECORDS SO NOT HAVE TO IDENTIFY A SPECIFIC INCIDENT, COLORADO SUPREME COURT RULES

By: Jeffrey A. Roberts, Executive Director
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

The Colorado Supreme Court recently removed a frustrating barrier for some requesters of police internal affairs records, deciding that criminal justice agencies may not withhold completed IA files from the public simply because the requester has not referenced a “specific, identifiable incident” of alleged misconduct by an officer.

The 5-2 decision upheld a district court ruling against the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for refusing to provide a criminal defendant with internal investigation files about two deputies who were witnesses in her case. The sheriff’s office had interpreted House Bill 19-1119, enacted in 2019, as allowing it to deny requests for IA files for being too “vague.”

It’s hardly the only law enforcement agency to have done so. As the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition pointed out in a 2020 article, several other police and sheriff’s offices have denied requests for IA records from news organizations, noting that the statute applies to investigations examining the in-uniform or on-duty conduct of a peace officer “related to a specific, identifiable incident of alleged misconduct involving a member of the public.”

In the majority opinion just issued, Justice William Hood wrote that the words “specific, identifiable incident” refer to the types of incidents subject to IA investigations, “not who must identify those incidents as part of a request to inspect investigation files. Therefore, the person requesting access to internal investigation files need not reference a ‘specific, identifiable incident’ of alleged misconduct in the request.”

“The term does not relate to the records request but, rather, to the investigation,” the ruling says. “Thus, when read as a whole, we understand ‘identifiable’ as describing a specific incident of alleged misconduct that is identifiable by the investigating officer so that the investigation could occur.”

The 2019 law “doesn’t require people seeking to inspect the files to know of the specific, identifiable instances of misconduct or that they include such designation in their request.”

The Colorado General Assembly addressed the narrow interpretation of HB 19-1119 by some law enforcement agencies in House Bill 21-1250, which is awaiting Gov. Jared Polis’ signature. In an amendment to the bill, which passed on the last day of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers removed the phase “specific, identifiable” before the word “incident.” The point of the amendment, said Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, is to “help the public access … files related to potential misconduct.”

Before HB 19-1119 went into effect in April 2019, establishing a statewide standard for the disclosure of IA records, nearly all sheriff’s offices and police departments routinely rejected requests for internal affairs files, either with a blanket policy or a finding under the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act that disclosure would be “contrary to the public interest.” (The Denver Department of Public Safety was an exception, regularly providing the disciplinary records of police officers and sheriff’s deputies in response to requests.)

During hearings on the 2019 bill, the Colorado Supreme Court decision says, lawmakers made it “abundantly clear” they sought to eliminate the discretion of records custodians “to deny access to certain internal affairs records and to make it easier for the public to obtain such records without involving the courts.”

“Nothing in the legislative history suggests that a requester should have to identify a specific incident or that the Amendment makes such broad requests impermissible.”

This information is part of an article by Jeffrey Roberts that originally appeared
on the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition website. 

To access the original article click the link below:
https://coloradofoic.org/requests-for-police-internal-affairs-records-do-not-have-to-identify-a-specific-incident-colorado-supreme-court-rules/

Follow the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition on Twitter @CoFIC. 

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Diagnostic & Prescriptive Judgment Enforcement
By: Joe H. Dickerson, CFE

$24.95 + FREE S&H

Please place your book orders by calling
303.974.5610
during normal business hours Mon-Fri 9am-5pm MT.
or email joe@financialforensicservices.comand make an appointment
for a FREE initial review of your judgment. Thank you!

Copyright © 2021 Financial Forensic Services, All rights reserved.

Financial Forensic Report 7.6.2021

TAKE FROM A MAN THAT WHICH HE CHERISHES AND HE WILL FOLLOW YOUR WAYS (DESIRES)

FROM THE ART OF WAR BY SUN TZU

It proves to be time year after year, case after case, if you do in fact take from a person, using the legal process, they in fact will usually agree to a significant settlement, often being 100% of the judgment against them. You first take what is near and dear to them and then convince them you have just begun. I often explain to the debtor that they need to understand that I am their new business partner and that I will continue to take their assets plus part of every dollar they make for the rest of their life, or until my client is paid in full, plus costs, legal fees, and on-going interest on the balance due. 

Obviously, then the first thing we want to do in a judgment enforcement case is to find out what any judgment debtor cherishes, what is near and dear to his heart, so we can immediately take it and get his undivided attention. There is really no sophisticated legal techniques needed here, no magic, no specific skills needed – just applying what most all of us know from our everyday life experiences. Ill share with you here a series of my favorites that everyone seems to overlook. 

Many of us are purchasing a home, have purchased a home, or at least know and understand the basics of how the process works. If you have a mortgage, you are making monthly payments. Those payments consist of four things: PITI. Of course, P and I refer to principal and interest payments. The T and I are the taxes and insurance. The lender collects and pays the taxes and insurance to protect their interest in the collateral (the home you are buying). They collect and pay the taxes so they do not risk losing the home to a tax sale because they failed to pay their real estate taxes. Likewise, they collect and pay the insurance premium so if the house burns down they get their money. 

If you own valuable personal property, such as jewelry, art work, guns, collectables like rare coins, stamps, etc., furs, trophies, and so forth, those valuable will not be found in any public records research. They will be scheduled on an attachment to your homeowners insurance policy. 

Therefore, the first subpoena goes to the mortgage company for the name and address of the insurance company they are escrowing for and paying, along with the policy number. The next subpoena goes to the insurance company for a copy of the policy with all adamants and schedules thereto. You now have a list of all the exceptionally valuable personal property owned by your judgment debtor. No one pays insurance on a Rolex he does not own. 

With this information, your attorney can now take this legally obtained evidence to the judge and obtain a Writ of Execution (or it’s equivalent) and with that the home can be raided and all listed assets can be taken. We always ask the attorney to also ask the court to grant authority to take all electronic communication devices, such as computer, iPads and cell phones, and do a forensic analysis thereof. We have never been turned down on this by a court. Remember, while legally in the home, the Sherriff can take all non-exempt assets to sell at the auction. Often, we just allow the debtor to buy his assets back for the total amount of the judment. With the information from the forensic analysis of the electronic devices, we often get a true blueprint of where in the world the debtor may be hiding his most valuable assets, which we normally recover.

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_______________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________

Diagnostic & Prescriptive Judgment Enforcement
By: Joe H. Dickerson, CFE

$24.95 + FREE S&H

Please place your book orders by calling
303.974.5610
during normal business hours Mon-Fri 9am-5pm MT.
or email joe@financialforensicservices.comand make an appointment
for a FREE initial review of your judgment. Thank you!

Copyright © 2021 Financial Forensic Services, All rights reserved.