Jimmy Sengenberger Show, George Brauchler, September 19, 2015

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Jimmy Sengenberger Show

Guests:  Brauchler

Link:      http://sengenberger.podbean.com/

Date:      September 19, 2015


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HOST JIMMY SENGENBERGER:  […] Someone you can always know is going to be on your side and on the side of justice, is Dist. Atty. for the 18th judicial District, which covers – among a couple of others – Arapahoe and Douglas County. I know the other one is Lincoln County. What’s the fourth County, Georgia Brauchler?


SENGENBERGER: Elbert County. And Elbert County. So those of the four counties that your judicial district covers. And welcome back to the Jimmy Sengenberger show. It’s been a while since we’ve had you on. I think it was back during election season.

BRAUCHLER:  Yeah, it’s great to be back on. And we’ve had a little stuff going on in the office that has kept me off of the radio until real recently. So, thanks for having me back on.

SENGENBERGER: well, you are welcome! And I do want to thank you as well – your office, setting aside any politics, partisanship, and anything like that for just a moment. The Liberty Day Institute is an organization – nonprofit –of which I am president, and it teaches kids about the Constitution. And your office has some attorneys — and we’re hoping to get you into a class– that are visiting classes or have visited classes to speak to students about the Constitution. It’s wonderful! Thank you!

BRAUCHLER:  Yeah, we’re excited. I’m just glad to be a part of the program. You know, we’ve been big proponents of getting back into the community, especially with kids, on a whole bunch of different levels.  One of the big programs – and I’m hoping Liberty Day can quickly become as big and successful – is “Leaders Are Readers”, out of Aurora. And, you know, these prosecutors and paralegals, they’ll go out into schools throughout Aurora and sit down and spend time with these kids and I think it’s great for both sides. This one, Liberty Day, is a little bit closer to my heart, because of my occupation. Because it’s sort of, I guess, my commitment to wanting to see the Constitution not only advertised and promoted, but understood, you know, by the next generation of voters. Someday, I may ask these people to cast a vote for me and I’d love for them to have a better appreciation of just exactly what that means.

SENGENBERGER:  […] So, since it is Constitution Week, before we shift gears here, why is it important then, to really talk about, learn, and understand about the U.S. Constitution?

BRAUCHLER:  It’s a great question. And it’s one that – and Jimmy, I know that you’re probably a third of my age, and that’s great, that hurts every time I see you and I think, “This kid could be mowing my lawn.” But I don’t think we do as good a job spending real classroom time developing a real sense of civic responsibility and understanding of the founding documents of our country, and we can see where that pays off. I mean, that pays off when people grow into adulthood and begin to think of the government as that place you turn to when you need something, when you want something, when you need a promise or guarantee of something, and if I can get it myself I’m going to ask the government to go and take it from someone else and give it to me. And I think that’s, first off, a misperception of what the government’s role is and how it functions. But the Constitution, if someone just sits down and reads through it, it just gives you completely different appreciation for what the founders had intended it to be – the strengths of this federal government. And they are limited. We have let them grow way out of control. They were intended to be far more limited.

SENGENBERGER:  All right. I think that’s very well put. And so, let’s go a bit deeper here into the recent news, of course, with the Aurora theater shooting trial.  I know you’ve explained this in a number of different forums. I want to talk to you about it again, which is, the decision to seek the death penalty which was unsuccessful in the end. But still, it was a very hard-fought effort, and so many of us are proud of you for the job you did and that your office did. It was a big team effort. But why was there the decision to go after the death penalty, especially Aurora Theater Shooting Trial – and your decision to go after the death penalty, especially with such strength and fortitude?

BRAUCHLER:  Well, I think it’s just a matter of first impression. If you sat down with your neighbor and said, “Hey, did you know that if someone walked up to someone in Aurora, in Greenwood Village, and put a gun to their head and pulled the trigger, about person would expect to get life in prison without the possibility of parole,” they might say, “Yeah, sure! That makes sense.” [If you] murder someone in cold blood you should lose your freedom forever. That makes sense. And then you sit down and say, “I want to talk to you about another set of facts. And these are facts about a guy, a first year neuroscience PhD graduate level fellow, who spent 2 ½ months plotting the murder of 400 innocent people inside an enclosed box. And along the way, he would set up some of the most complicated booby-traps that the FBI had come across domestically, as well as arming himself with an assault rifle, to Glock .40 caliber handguns, a 12gauge shotgun, 700 rounds of ammunition, including hundreds of rounds of steel penetrating, 5.56 mm rounds for the assault rifle. And that he went in there and pulled the trigger until the trigger stopped working, because of a jam. And the result would be 12 dad and 70 wounded for attempt murder purposes.”  And you’d say, “Should that guy, that I just described to you, same sentence as the guy who shot one person in the head on the streets of Aurora or in Greenwood Village?”  In my guess is, almost everybody in the Colorado would sit there and say, “How can that be fair? How can that be justice? Shouldn’t there be an outcome more severe for the guy who wanted to murder hundreds of people and didn’t, but for the grace of God?”  And the answer is yes. The state of Colorado, like the vast majority of all states in this country continues to have a death penalty. And it’s for cases just like the one we prosecuted. And frankly, given the speed with which the jurors moved through three of the four different phases of the tribal – guilt all the way through weighing aggravation against mitigation – and the fact that it was really one hold out juror who upended the outcome, it tells me that the community thinks pretty much the way I thought about this case, as well.

SENGENBERGER:  How surprised were you when the jury came back with the decision that they couldn’t reach the unanimous decision?

BRAUCHLER:  At the moment I don’t think I was terribly surprised because –.  But there was a surprise earlier. Let me set it up for you. You know, once you get through guilt, once the jury very quickly rejected this nonsensical taxpayer notion that this guy did not know right from wrong and couldn’t form the intent for murder when he engaged in these heinous acts, you move into a sentencing phase. And Colorado doesn’t mandate it be done in three phases, but this is the way that this great judge – Judge [Carlos] Samour — decided to do it, and I don’t object to it. We move forward. Phase 1 is we have to prove there was some aggravation. [[The] jury moved very quickly through that. Phase 2 is where I thought, “Hey, if we are going to lose this case on sentencing – we’re not going to get death – it will be in phase 2, which is a weighing of aggravating factors, like number of victims, a tortuous cruel manner of death, um, stuff like that. But that would not necessarily outweigh all the mental health stuff that they threw at the jury. If that had been the case, we’d have stopped right there and he would have gotten life. In fact, that’s what happened in the Dexter Lewis case up in Denver. However, this jury, in 2 ½ hours, rejects the suggestion that mitigation outweighs aggravation. And they say beyond a reasonable doubt. At that point, I felt like, “Oh, this is it! We’re going to get them to the point of voting for death, they moved so quickly through phase 2 it seems like it’s going to happen.” And then, during deliberations, on phase 3, they asked to see the crime scene video. That was significant, because while I was making the closing argument for phase 2 – the prior phase, I told them, “Listen, if you have any doubts in your mind, that beyond any reasonable doubt that aggravation outweighs the mitigation thrown at you by the taxpayer-funded attorneys, I want you to go back and watch the crime scene video, so you can remind yourself of what this guy did – this evil that he perpetrated against the innocent and the unsuspecting, they didn’t do it. They didn’t ask for it then. But when they asked for it in phase 3, that’s when me and the other members of our team, took a step back and thought, “Okay, they’ve got at least one. They’ve got at least one that is reluctant on death. And now, let’s see what happens.” They watched the video, and within an hour or two later, they come back with a verdict. And it seemed to me, at that point, that I went into the court room feeling like, “Man, I’m sure hoping that they could convince that person.” But when the verdict came back the way it did, mostly what I felt was disappointment, followed by just the regret over the sound of the victims, really, behind me – kind of moaning and signing and the sobbing that takes place, when they realized that this guy wasn’t going to get the justice that he earned.

SENGENBERGER:  […] A moment or so ago, you said that their case and effort to try to demonstrate that he didn’t know right from wrong was taxpayer-funded. What do you mean by that?

BRAUCHLER:  Well, so, he debts the public defender. And that’s not because he’s indigent. It’s because he remained in custody throughout this case. That’s not unusual. What is unusual, is that when the public defender represents someone on this case or any other case, because of the way the Supreme Court interpreted our Colorado Open Records Act Law a couple years ago, they now claim an exemption from revealing a single penny that they spent taxpayer money to try and get this guy off the hook, to try and get him something other than prison. And that’s something I’m happy to say, for a second year in the row, Polly Lawrence is going to take the lead on trying to run a piece of legislation through that ensures that taxpayers have the ability to scrutinize one of the three branches of government, and that’s the judiciary. It’s long overdue. But I want to remind people that you didn’t just pay for the district attorney’s efforts in this case. You paid for the public defender’s efforts in this case. The difference is, we put on our website every penny we spent on this case and we updated it every month. That’s what good government is. The public defenders, you won’t ever know a single cent that they spent because they’ll refused to provide it, claiming they are entitled to keep it secret.

SENGENBERGER:  And that is the real shame, when you don’t have transparency on, especially such a large amount of taxpayer money spent in this direction. So, good governance is absolutely the key aspect to any sort of job, like district attorney, or the public defender. Now, speaking of good governance and shifting gears here […], there is a lot of talk about the prospect of a Brauchler campaign for the United States Senate. Where are you on considerations for the possibility of running for the United States Senate?

BRAUCHLER:  Ehh, first, I’ve heard those same things, obviously. I’d be lying to you if I told you I was oblivious to it. Second, I’m really holding out hope that the NFL offers me the Commissioner position before I really have to make a move and some other political direction.  I don’t think that’s going to happen. Although, this whole Tom Brady thing — if that doesn’t make you crazy, what will?

SENGENBERGER:  Absolutely.

BRAUCHLER:  And the third part is, I have given this significant thought and I’ve been dealing with this with my family, I’ve been talking about it with friends. That process, Jimmy, is just overwhelming and humbling. How many people – people I haven’t even heard from in years, that read a story about, ”Am I thinking about running for this office, or has someone talked about me running for this office.” People across the country, people I was in the Army with, people I went to school with, who would reach out and say, “Man, I just read this. You’d be great. Please do this!  This is exactly what we need, is, we need someone from – who is not a career politician to get in there and try to figure out why can’t we seem to make a difference, regardless of whether you are an R or a D.”  That’s overwhelming. That’s humbling. Um, I’m going to make an announcement on this in October. I’m not going to let this thing linger much longer. But–so that’s forthcoming, here. It’s just going to be next month.

SENGENBERGER:  Are there any particular issues that really — that are really speaking to you in terms of, “I could make a difference in this area”?

BRAUCHLER:   Oh, my goodness! The list is long! I mean, I think it would almost be too easy to look at just the latest vote that our current incumbent senator cast against our closest allies – frankly, our only allies in the middle east and choosing a ran instead. That in and of itself is infuriating, especially given that only 21% of the country supported this ridiculous Iran nuclear agreement that was – and I’m going to use the phrase “negotiation” using air quotes, because you can’t see on the radio.

SENGENBERGER:  I know what you mean.

Yeah. That was negotiated with the Secretary of State, John Kerry, and –. By the way, I do, in my own head, see some relationship – very tangential – but some relationship with the idea that, listen, the people that pummel me for — and they are the left, and the Defense Bar –that pummel me for seeking the death penalty against this mass murder, wanted me to just take the path of least resistance. Just take the path of least resistance, and do what the mass murder was willing to do so it would just save everybody some time and effort. I feel a little bit of that in this – the idea that we should just take what we can get. We should just take what we can get from the bad guys in exchange for standing up for our friends because it’s just the path of least resistance.  I think we need more than the path of least resistance in the Senate. Here is something else: my wife is a small business owner. [She] started her own business 16+ years ago, has a significant number of employees, and tries to keep this thing going, despite the fact—

SENGENBERGER:  You know what? Can you hold on? We’re up against a heartbreak. Can we continue this conversation for just a few more minutes on the other side [of the break]?

BRAUCHLER:  Take the hard break. I’ll keep griping.

[Commercial break]

SENGENBERGER:  […]  You started talking about your wife being a small business owner and really, that hits home with so many Coloradans that are small business owners or that work for small business, since we know that small business is the backbone of the economy. So continue that conversation.

BRAUCHLER:  Um, you know, I was thinking about it during the break, Jimmy, and the things that I would want to spend more time talking about include how what we’ve done is, rather than have full-blown legislative debates over the individual burdens that we place on the back panel of the economy –which are small business owners and potential entrepreneurs– instead, we’ve substituted a far less scrutinized regulatory framework that just beats these men and women down. And my wife is no different. And you – Obamacare is another huge burden for business owners to want to try to tackle. If you combine that with that – and a lot of people don’t know the phrase Don Frank – but Dodd Frank was a horrific compromise during the economic downturn that shifted a tremendous burden, in terms of regulations, on to banks. And what you’ve seen are the collapse and folding of small community banks which are interestingly the very banks that small businesses rely upon – and small communities — to get their funding when they can’t meet the big banks criteria. Those are starting to disappear from Colorado and across the countryside. And what you also see is banks and big health insurers – because of the regulatory burden – starting to team up and merge.  And that means less competition, less choice, and these giant behemoths.  We’ve gone from banks that we claimed were “too big to fail”, we have made them now “too big to be too big to fail”. And that is just something that is got to change. It feels like, from my family standpoint, that the latest polling that you’ve seen, and it’s for the very first time since this polling is been done– Jimmy, you may have seen this.  For the very first time, Americans by a vast majority believe that their children will not do better than they did in this country. That’s gotta make your timely hurt. I mean, that’s got to put you in a place where you think, “How did we get here? And how do we reverse this trend?” And the only answer I can give you, the one that makes the most sense to a simple kid from Lakewood, is leadership. You need someone who can go there and fight for Colorado — not for the leadership of their party, not for the election down the road, but can stand there and fight for Colorado, right now. I’m confident I can do that if I decide to take on that task.

SENGENBERGER:  Sounding a lot like a potential candidate, for sure, George Brock Lerner, Dist. Atty. for the 18th judicial District. Real quick, before we let you go, where would you say you fall down on the political spectrum, in terms of being conservative and so forth, and why?

BRAUCHLER:  Yeah, I have no doubts that I am conservative and I would be viewed by just about everybody else as conservative. And in large part, I’d say that from what we talked about at the very beginning.  It is a belief in the Constitution as not just the framework for government but as the source of the authority for whatever it is that that government does. It’s a belief that every good idea should not be met with some legislation or some regulation that can help put it in place.  But the government, in many cases, is the last resort. It is when we can’t do for each other. It is for when we can’t fix problems ourselves. And frankly, this is something else you’ll likely hear again if I make this decision, and that is we need to have a focus for our representative of more Colorado, less DC.  And that needs to be the starting place for every single quote-unquote “good idea’ that takes place in Washington. Is this good for Colorado, one? And number two is, can Colorado do it itself? And if you can answer yes to both of those, then DC [should] not be involved at all. If you can answer yes to number one, DC [should] not be involved at all. The federal government has gotten too big too quickly over these last – well, how long has he been in office, now?  Six years? And we’ve got to stop him.

SENGENBERGER:  Well put, George Brauchler!  Hey, if you need a place to make that announcement, the Jimmy Sengenberger show on 710KNUS is a certain place you could consider!

BRAUCHLER:  [laughs] Absolutely, my man! You’re certainly on the list!

SENGENBERGER:  All right.  Thank you so much, my friend!  It was great to talk with you!