CBI clears El Paso County Sheriff's Office in notary case

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Borland: He's sure he didn't order the notaries to notarized signatures they didn't witness because he "would never do that.” - COURTESY EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy El Paso County Sheriff's Office
  • Borland: He's sure he didn't order the notaries to notarized signatures they didn't witness because he "would never do that.”
In this week's issue, we report the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has concluded its investigation into the saga of notarizing El Paso County sheriff deputy oaths without the deputies present. It found no basis for criminal charges, despite three people saying they felt the order to notarize the documents without the deputies present for their signatures to be properly witnessed forced the two notaries to violate state notary laws or face retaliation.

After the Independent went to press on April 10, the CBI produced a Feb. 21 letter to District Attorney Dan May sought by the Indy a couple of weeks ago.

In it, CBI director John Camper says agent Jodi Wright interviewed a retired sheriff's lieutenant who witnessed the order, given by sheriff's administrator Larry Borland, and saw it as a threat that "both would be fired, or there would be other repercussions if they did not notarize the commission cards," the letter quotes the lieutenant as saying to Wright.

We use [blank] to indicate redactions in the letter, as follows:

"While it was certainly [blank] opinion that the two men would be fired, or would incur other repercussions, the conversation as related by [blank] does not, in our view, constitute such a threat," Camper wrote.

Borland had earlier told Wright he didn't order the affidavits notarized all in one day in April 2016, and Sheriff Bill Elder said in a Nov. 8, 2017, news conference that the notaries, Rick Dietz and David Mejia, took it upon themselves to do so.

The CBI letter goes on to note that violation of notary laws are "non-criminal in nature" that should be handled by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.

Which wasn't really the point of this issue. No one is arguing that notary laws were not violated; the issue is why they were violated and who's responsible for those violations and whether some other law could be at play due to the coercion that Dietz, Mejia and the retired lieutenant say they witnessed.

In any event, Camper ends his letter saying, "Additionally, the actions of [blank] do not, in our view, meet the elements of 18-8-404, First degree official misconduct, and 18-8-405, Second degree official misconduct, although we certainly leave that determination to your judgment."

May apparently agrees with Camper; no charges have been filed.

Here are the definitions of the crimes cited by Camper:
(1) A public servant commits first degree official misconduct if, with intent to obtain a benefit for the public servant or another or maliciously to cause harm to another, he or she knowingly:

(a) Commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official function; or

(b) Refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law; or

(c) Violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation relating to his office.

(2) First degree official misconduct is a class 2 misdemeanor.
(1) A public servant commits second degree official misconduct if he knowingly, arbitrarily, and capriciously:

(a) Refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law; or

(b) Violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation relating to his office.

(2) Second degree official misconduct is a class 1 petty offense.
Here's Camper's letter, followed by the CBI investigation report.
See related PDF CBI2_21_18Letter.pdf See related PDF CBIReport.pdf

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