Dan Caplis Show, George Brauchler, May 8, 2014

Station:   KNUS, 710 AM

Show:      Dan Caplis Show

Guests:    Brauchler

Link:       http://dancaplis.podbean.com/

Date:       May 8, 2014

Topics:    Felony DUI, Spice

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, GEORGE BRAUCHLER:  And I did hear you reference the felony DUI bill.


BRAUCHLER:  I’m just so gut hurt over that.  And it’s interesting that they would blame it on dollars when one of the things that never gets publicized are things like the public defenders’ office was easily able to obtain funding for 11 new appellate public defenders —


BRAUCHLER:  And that’s  on top of receiving an additional $20M in funding last year.  We are now at a place as a state of Colorado where, between the public defenders’ office and alternate defense council, we are spending more than $100M dollars a year to purportedly defend indigents in criminal cases.  But we can come up with far less than that to incarcerate those who put our families at risk on the road.  It’s ridiculous

CAPLIS:  Oh, well said.  It looked to me — I’ll pull up the article — as if it would have been — let’s see, the fiscal not was projected at about $1.6M. Really?  We can’t come up with $1.6M to protect the people of the state from repeat DUIs?

BRAUCHLER:  No.  It sounds like it’s too much. But you know what?  I think the real heart of this thing, though — the money is an excuse.  But I don’t think it’s the real reason.  If you look at statements by Senator Hodge, she says, “I really think we ought to be focusing on treatment for alcoholics.”  Now, look, I’m all about rehabilitation, but you and I know this to be true and that is, alcoholics don’t kill people.  Drunk drivers kill people.

CAPLIS:  Right.

BRAUCHLER:  You can be an alcoholic in your garage all day long and it’s sad.  You get behind the wheel and it’s murder.

CAPLIS:  Right, right. Well said.  And so, what’s really going on here?  […] It seems to me that the Dems don’t do something this blatantly wrong — particularly when it goes against strong public opinion unless one of their big special interests has said, “Kill this.”  And I’m just trying to figure out which one, or which combination of those interests, it is.

BRAUCHLER:  Well, this has been the — and I’m taking last year and this year together — this has been the legislature of the offender, for the last two years.  There has been an absolute refusal to want to tackle issues of public safety in a meaningful and aggressive way.  Part of that is probably because they get their bread buttered as much by the Defense Bar and by civil attorneys who are also defense attorneys who are trying to capitalize on being able to represent these guys, as opposed to the victims, like you do.  And I think it’s also, though, a fundamental disagreement on philosophy about when somebody does something wrong, should they be held responsible for their conduct? Or should we be trying to find some other ailment or part of the system to blame for why.

CAPLIS:  […] One of these gazillionaire leftists who is trying to influence Colorado, you know, is their far left view of what the justice system should be, you know, now worming its way into Colorado.  We see Bloomberg trying to write our gun laws.  You know, we see plenty of outsiders who see Colorado as ripe for manipulation through money.  You know, trying to shape this state. So, hope we can drill down to it.  One thing we know is, it’s wrong.  I’m glad you’re out there trying to fight this stuff.  Tell folks, if you would, about this synthetic spice and why these busts were so important.

BRAUCHLER:  I will talk about that in a se— if I could just throw out this last line — because you have mentioned this multiple times, and that is:  Where is the governor on these issues?

CAPLIS:  Oh, man!

BRAUCHLER:  I mean, you have a bully pulpit as the Governor.  Can you imagine where these bills would be — and bills like them,—if John Hickenlooper took to the airwaves and took to the media and said, “Colorado deserves the same protections that 46 other states in the country have.”  But this guy is — I don’t know what he’s doing!  I don’t know where he is, I don’t know if he’s waiting to see which way the wind blows, but he is AWOL on these important public safety issues

CAPLIS:  Don’t you think, it’s two things?— District Attorney George Brauchler, our guest.  One is, I think in his heart, he’s a committed liberal.  I mean, he’s a leftist in his heart.  The other thing is, he’s way cocky.  I mean, he just doesn’t think he’s going to get threatened in this cycle.  He thinks he can just stick it  right into peoples face, time after time again and still get elected and still get elected, because he thinks the GOP is going to be so weak in this race.  That’s my take on it.

BRAUCHLER:  I think you’re right.  And I do.  And I think if you look back over these last three years, i defy someone to say, “This is what the Governor stands for.”  Or, “This is an issue that the Governor has put the full weight of his office behind him because he believes this in his heart.”  I mean, what is that issue?  There hasn’t been a single thing you can point to where you’ve said, “You know who is a big leader on that at a state level?  Governor Hickenlooper.”   I mean, this is a guy who stands at the —  this is the definition of lead from behind.  You know, once Colorado has  made a decision, then he shows up on scene to say, “Yep!  I was with you all along.”  I mean, come on!

CAPLIS:  No, you’re absolutely right about that.  And the way you called him out on Dunlap was critical.  And I think he is probably most vulnerable on that, not only on the death penalty issue but also on it as symbolizing his overall  weakness.  But again, it comes back to the alternative.  Now, I’m hoping that  he’s going to get a rude awakening once the GOP settles on a candidate [for governor].  I think everybody in the race is really solid and would be a far better governor than Hickenlooper, whether whoever our nominee is going to catch fire once it’s down to one. Well, we’ll find out together.   I wish you had been in this race. I think you would have brought something very special to it, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you were the nominee  But I understand why you had to focus on your job as DA right now.  But, we’ve just got to hope that whoever our nominee is, once all of the money, once all of the energy, organization is focused behind that person, that they can start to pressure Hickenlooper.  Because I think he has, metaphorically, a glass jaw.  I think he’s a phony.  He pretends to be something he’s not. He’s very weak by nature.  [It] doesn’t make him a bad person.  He’s just very weak by nature.  And a good, strong candidate who pressures him, you know, might cause good things to happen.

BRAUCHLER:  I agree with you.  I think he is — and this is a short read for me, having spent a little time with him fact to face, and then of course, being an observer, too.  And  that is, he feels a lot like a guy who is desperate to be liked. And so, anything he that has to do that puts him in a position to not be liked becomes a very difficult decision on almost any topic.  And so he has managed to make it through as the luckiest guy in politics, through two terms as the Denver Mayor and one term as a governor, riding the “I’m the affable, I can’t really harm anything.”  And so what I would ask people to consider is this:  look back over the last three years, and ask yourself, “How different would Colorado be if any one of the guys running for governor right now had been Governor instead of this guy.  And then I want you to look forward and contemplate, “What does this guy do untethered to the idea that he needs to stand for re-election?  What do the next four years look like when he doesn’t have to worry about  public opinioin.  I mean, it’s scary!

CAPLIS:  Yeah.  No, it is!  Let’s just hope whoever the nominee is can catch fire, catch a break. Because I think it’s going to take that.  It’s interesting, I don’t know if you’ve looked at these issues at all.  I’m just starting to dig into them as the legislative compromise failed, and it’s clear now we’re going to have at least one or more ballot issues on fracking — you know, what impact that’s going to have on the statewide campaign.  You know, where does Hickenlooper — who  doesn’t like to take a position on anything controversial— where does he come down on that?  How does that play out in this election cycle.  Do you have any thoughts on that?

BRAUCHLER:  I do.  I think as the polls develop, you will begin to hear stories floated by Hickenlooper supporters and from the people on his staff as to how he’s leaning.  My guess is you won’t ever see him on TV come out and take a strong position for or against any issue on fracking, because while he wants to be in favor of it, because of the strong oil and gas lobby who supports his re-election financially, I think on the other hand he’s deathly afraid of alienating those people who look at the EPA like the Catholic church.

CAPLIS:  Right.  Right.  Now, it will be fascinating to watch it roll out.  […]  Nice picture in the post today!  Holy cow!  They normally don’t get Republicans pictures like that!

BRAUCHLER:  I can’t get over it! I think they airbrushed it to make me look thinner!

[Tell about the spice bust]

[The rest is paraphrased]

[BRAUCHLER:  Popular media has promoted that MJ is not harmful, not addictive, etc.  Synthetic marijuana (SPICE) is largely based on chemicals from China — unregulated.  they spray it on this green vegetative substance.  It’s hallucinogenic.  Different reactions seen in each individual.  we’ve had many cases showing up in emergency rooms Aug and Sept last year  (267 people admitted in metro area) — a death (15 yo in aurora), a guy tried to cut his own head off, people freak out in convenience store, one guy tried to set himself on fire.  The anecdotes are incredible.  and it’s packaged deceptively  with appealing, fun names — like 10x, or crazy clown, requiem, triplex, sunset, etc… and it’s sold in head shops, tobacco shops, convenience stores.  The sting that happened yesterday was nationwide — like nothing I’ve seen in 20 years — from Alaska to FL — combined state, local LE and DEA, and state AG.  I haven’t seen anything as collaborative and effective in my history in LE.  I’m proud to have been a part of it.  Educating citizens as to the dangers of spice, but hold people accountable for trying to hurt people in our communities.  Hopefully this will wipe it out]

[CAPLIS:  Keep up the hard work on this.  There’s a misperception that this was covered under Amendment 64.]