We all remember earlier this year when the iconic Mapleton Elk was shot for trophy in the middle of one of Boulder’s neighborhoods. Shenanigan after shenanigan ensued, photos of cops posing with the dead elk emerged, and all hell broke loose.
Yesterday, the first cop in the case — not the one actually charged with shooting the elk — struck a plea deal. The penalty he’ll have to live with? One year of probation and 60 days of house arrest.
Having known people charged with DUIs and DWAIs in Colorado, I’m failing to see how this guy’s penalty for his involvment in this crime are fitting. Especialy given that he plead out to one felony and four misdemeanor charges.
Here’s the direct skinny from The Daily Camera this morning:
He received a two-year deferred sentence for the felony charge, tampering with evidence. If he abides by the terms of the deferred sentence for two years, the felony would be wiped from his record.
The misdemeanor charges are illegal possession of a trophy elk with a Samson Law surcharge, conspiracy to commit illegal possession of wildlife, unlawful taking of a big game animal out of season, and unlawful use of an electronic communication device to unlawfully take wildlife.
Three other felonies and a misdemeanor were dropped in exchange for the plea.
Now — let me get this straight. Someone who has a few beers or cocktails and gets caught and charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado faces a zero tolerance threshold and that offense will never be wiped from his or her record. It will follow them to and from every job application and criminal background check for a lifetime. And no, I’m not saying that it’s AOK to drink and drive — it’s anything but.
But a guy who goes out and conspires to shoot another living being — unlawfully — and to the effect of four felony charges and five misdemeanors gets to have his felony wiped from his record after he “behaves” for two years?
I’m not on board with this. But frankly, it doesn’t matter what I’m on board with. It’s the District Attorney’s office in Boulder that carries the burden here. Boulder’s a community that lives and breathes the outdoors. We practice Leave No Trace and report dog owners for not sporting a pup’s off-leash tag on the Mt. Sanitas trail. We provide the training ground for world-class athletes and are graced to ake up each morning to deer wandering through residential yards.
We are the idyllic watercolor painting.
And when crap like this happens in our community — the conspired death of wildlife — by those who have sworn to protect and serve our community, I fail to see how a plea deal as slick and self-serving as the one handed down serves anyone except Brent Curnow. We certainly can’t get the elk back, the one that was shot for trophy by a Boulder Police Officer.
But does anyone feel that this is justice served?