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The Denver Post reports that a Mesa County Colorado grand jury has indicted two Colorado State patrol troopers on criminal charges of criminal trespass and criminal mischief. One of the troopers, Ivan Lawyer, was indicted on additional charges of criminally negligent homicide, second degree assault, illegal discharge of a firearm, and prohibited use of a weapon. The second degree assault charge against Trooper Lawyer is a class 4 felony that carries a mandatory 5-16 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections if he is convicted due to the charge’s classification as a “crime of violence” under Colorado law. Both, Trooper Lawyer and the other Colorado State Patrol trooper, Kirk Firko, are on unpaid administrative leave pending resolution of the criminal charges against them in a Grand Junction, Colorado District Court.
The criminal charges against Troopers Lawyer and Firko result from a shooting that happened after they responded to an accident on July 20, 2010 in Grand Junction, Colorado. The 911 emergency caller reporting the accident reported that a pickup truck had crashed into the yard of a residential home and three intoxicated men were trying to leave the scene. When Troopers Lawyer and Firko arrived to the address reported in the emergency call, the pickup truck was parked a short distance away. The three intoxicated individuals who had been reported to be present by the 911 caller were not in or around the vehicle. Trooper Lawyer determined that it was necessary to find these individuals quickly so that criminal evidence of their blood alcohol content could be obtained. Lawyer determined that such evidence would be necessary to charge the driver of the vehicle with the criminal offense of DUI. Without such evidence, prosecution would be very difficult if a seasoned Denver criminal defense lawyer were retained by the driver. Trooper Lawyer and Firko knocked on the door of the residence and Trooper Lawyer looked through the window. Lawyer saw a man who matched the description of one of the three men given by the 911 caller. The man in the home, Jason Kemp, told Trooper Lawyer that he could not enter without a search warrant. Trooper Firko attempted to arrest two men as they were escaping out the back door of the home. As this was occurring, Trooper Lawyer attempted to break open the front door. Trooper Lawyer was afraid that Kemp had had enough time to obtain a weapon. Trooper Lawyer claims that he was afraid for his safety at that time. Trooper Lawyer kicked in the door with his gun drawn. Lawyer claims to have seen Kemp in the darkness with his arm raised as if pointing a weapon. Trooper Lawyer next claims to have seen a flash and thought that he had been shot. Lawyer then realized that he had actually shot Kemp. The wound killed Kemp despite Trooper Lawyer’s CPR efforts. As it turns out, Kemp was not armed with a weapon.
Mr. Jamison writes and blogs on behalf of the Denver, Colorado based criminal defense and personal injury law firm of Frankfurt & Trani, P.C., Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, Denver Murder & Criminal Homicide Criminal Defense Attorneys
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