Weekend Wakeup with Chuck & Julie, George Brauchler, January 23, 2016

Station: KNUS, 710 AM

Show:     Weekend Wakeup with Chuck & Julie

Guests:  Brauchler

Link:      http://knus-weekend-wakeup.podbean.com/

Date:      January 23, 2016


Click Here for Audio


HOST CHUCK BONNIWELL:  Let’s talk to the real George Brauchler.  At least, I think it is the real George Brauchler, here on — as a guest.  George, welcome to the program.


CO-HOST JULIE HAYDEN:  Hey, George, so I wanted to talk to you as the, you know, the District Attorney, 18th judicial district – one of the first things I wanted to ask you about is James Holmes, the Aurora theater shooter, was – the Department of Corrections, um, and they transferred him around a little bit there, but now I guess he’s gone out of state.  But we don’t know where?

BRAUCHLER:  Nope.  We don’t know where. They won’t tell us. They won’t tell the victims. We were notified in a similar fashion to the victims in that there was a pretty vague email that just said, “Hey, he’s been sent out of the state.”  And that was it.  So, we made some efforts to try and figure out where he went.  They, of course, are shrouded in a secrecy that is even greater than the federal government.


BRAUCHLER:  So, when people say, “Hey, isn’t there some issues about protection safety?”  I’m sure there are.  But what I know right now is you can go to Google and you can Google any notorious federally convicted inmates from Sinai to Richard Reid going to find exactly where they’re located it doesn’t make sense that this guy be doing more secret protection and they do you think you could go to Google and you can Google any notorious convicted criminal from Tsarnaev, to Richard Reed, to Rob Blogoiavich,  and find exactly where they’re located.  It doesn’t make sense that this guy needs even more secret protection than they do.

HAYDEN:  Well, and here’s the other thing:  you could go to Google and you could find the location of any one of the victims, and go find him, if you wanted to.  And, I mean, to me, what the kind of gets me is why on earth does he have more rights to privacy than any of the people he victimized?

BRAUCHLER:  That’s a great question.  Why does he have more rights to privacy and anonymity?  I mean, they could have even changed his identity.  Um, I think, given the federal government is wary to expose identities and locations of the worst of the worst that they prosecute, and some who are child killers, too, by the way.  You know, Terry blew up the Murrah building and that had kids in it.  You can find where he is housed.

HAYDEN:  Right.

BRAUCHLER:  Tsarnaev, […] you can find out where he is.  What concerns me is that it is almost a tacit admission that, you know what, we can’t actually protect him.  We’ve lost the ability to protect this guy at the state and local level because of who he is.  And that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

HAYDEN:  So, how can –

BONNIWELL:  I assume this is the department of corrections?

BRAUCHLER:  Department of corrections, exactly.

HAYDEN:  How can they get away with that?  Really. I guess —

BONNIWELL:  I guess they can.

HAYDEN:  I guess they can just not tell us, huh?  Well, let me ask you this, though.  I know there are victim notification laws. For instance, when people are going to be released, or something like that, victims are notified.  You would think – because, I mean, there are victims from that shooting all over the country.   I would think that they would have a right to be notified that he is in their state.

BRAUCHLER:  Or even if he’s not in that particular state – something. I mean, we have had contact  from victims who have legitimate concerns about where he’s located.  One, they’re concerned – this is a guy who – and you saw this, Julie, in trial, —  this is a guy who told both psychiatrists he still believes to this day that he values himself more the more people he killed. We don’t have to look much further than New York, Ted Bundy, and other stories in between, to know that these people can escape from custody.  And these people they victimized. [inaudible] legitimate angst over where is he. I, also, as the the prosecutor feel like he committed crimes in Colorado, he should be punished by Colorado in Colorado.

BONNIWELL: Who is the head of the Department of Corrections, these days?


HAYDEN:  Rick Raemisch?

BRAUCHLER:  –Rick Raemisch.

HAYDEN:  Yeah.

BONNIWELL:  Have you talked to him at all?

BRAUCHLER:  I ran into Rick at another event right as they were transferring this guy to San Carlos, which is a prison, but it has more mental health inmates.  But I’ve not heard from him since then.   I had told him, “Hey, look, I have an interest in wanting to know where this guy is and why he gets there and how he stays –.”

HAYDEN:  You know, I’d imagine –.

BRAUCHLER:  Go ahead.

HAYDEN:  I was going to say, you know, you’re probably not like on the DOC Christmas list after the whole Al-Turqi thing, either, though. So –

BONNIWELL: [laughs]

BRAUCHLER:  Again, more secrecy, though.

HAYDEN:  Right!

BRAUCHLER:  Here is what concerns me, is when I look to the federal government and say, “They’re more transparent than our state government, it is like Bizarre-World!

HAYDEN:  I guess — maybe I’m being too –.  No, I’m not being too harsh, here.  Here’s the thing, you know:  If James Holmes wanted to be worried about his safety, he shouldn’t have shot everybody in the movie theater.  Right?  I mean, to me, you give a little bit up, there.  And of course, prison isn’t a totally safe place, you know?  You know, our playgrounds aren’t safe.  Movie theaters arent’ safe, you know?  And so that is just too bad for him.  And, here’s the thing, I mean, first of all, he’s sort of a highly recognizable guy. I think it would probably not shock the inmates who saw him wherever he is to realize that he was the Aurora theater shooter. I mean, I think they probably figured that out.  So, I don’t understand how – you know?  I guess – I don’t know.   The regulations say the Department of Corrections can just do whatever they want, here?

BRAUCHLER:  It seems like they are given carte blanche to make any decision in their discretion that impacts the safety and health of inmates.  Let me tell you two things. One is, we have to take on board, here in our borders, to get another state to trade for this guy. I mean if he’s that horrible, you don’t just call up Ohio [and say], “Hey, we want to send you one.”  [They’ll say], “No, now hold on!  If you’re going to give us the Tom Brady of axe murderers, we want to give you a whole bunch of draft picks and a whole bunch of other things to take off of us.”

HAYDEN:  Right.

BRAUCHLER:  If we just take on a bunch more super violent people to swap this guy, did we give up straight up cash?  Arent we entitled to know that.  And the other thing is that, for a guy who says, “I still believe I’m more valuble the more people I kill,” they send him to a state, unlike Colorado where if he murders an inmate or prison guard, that there is no additional consequence to him because they don’t have a death penalty.


BRAUCHLER:  Here, if he killed again, we’d at least have it as a talking point, at least we’d have the option.  Out there, he could kill someone, you know, in a state where they don’t have the death penalty, and insist in going to trial, to have more notoriety, and at the end of the day having the exact same sentence, maybe a little less Jell-o and Crayons, but really nothing different.

HAYDEN:  Well, and what about the security measures, too?   I mean, do we have anything to say or – once he is sent to  another state, is he pretty much under their Department of Corrections rules?  So, if they have different rules saying he can be in a  medium security facility.  Or he’s behaved, he can be –.  I mean, do we have any kind of say as to how secure he is kept?

BRAUCHLER:  That is such a great question and one I hadn’t thought of.  My guess is they dictate how he is housed.  We don’t get to say, “Hey, he only gets so many hours of free time, and these are the people he can interact with. But aren’t these questions (the questions]  the public should get to ask the taxpayer-funded Department of Corrections to say, “We  [inaudible].

BONNIWELL:  You’d think the DA – wouldn’t the DA –?

HAYDEN:  Yeah!  You’d think at least you would be able to –

BONNIWELL:  –might be able to kind of ask them, but I guess –.

HAYDEN:  Well, here’s a question.  I bet the governor could ask them.

BRAUCHLER:  That’s exactly what I was going to say, Julie.  I bet the governor could pick up the phone and call his appointee – the Exective Director – and say, “Where did you send him?”  And my guess is he doesn’t say, “I’m sorry, Governor.  I’ve got to keep it a secret from you.”

HAYDEN:  “I can’t tell you.”

BRAUCHLER:  So, the governor of the state of Colorado, whose knowledge and intimacy with criminal justice is as far removed as any we’ve had in the past four years, gets to have this information, but not the person who tried to keep him accountable.  I mean, that’s weird.

HAYDEN:  No, that’s crazy.  Well, and it just — again, I think it’s such an insult to the victims.  And I would say, “He’s an inmate!” You know?  He’s a mass murderer!  Why are we so worried about it that we’re going to say, “Okay, we’re going to cause further pain and trauma and angst to the victims.  We’re going to cause potential headaches for — you now, just – I mean, we’re going to insult the public because we want to make sure that his rights are protected. And I’m — a bit of a rant on my party here, too — and the same thing, that the public defender’s office who – I mean, they’re necessary, they do a great job —  but they should be transparent and also let us know how much money they spent to keep him alive, in that case, or in any case.  They shouldn’t get to hide behind the secrecy, either.  You guys can’t.

BRAUCHLER:  No.  And you know how I feel about that.  Polly Lawrence is going to run a bill that hopefully will get to Judiciary.  But, one other thing:  and that is, we were significantly concerned, too —  before this happened —  that they were going to send him to California –

HAYDEN:  Right.

BRAUCHLER:  –where he had greater access to those people that love and care for him to make it easier to go and visit him.  That seemed pretty frustrating, especially for the victims.  Then DOC sent an email saying they were not going to send him to  California.  But I’ve got to be honest.  When you’re secret about 99% of the information, the 1% you want me to believe, that’s a tough call.  That’s what I want to know.

HAYDEN:  Well, what about –.  Let’s say they send him to, just say Michigan.  Is there anything preventing Michigan from sending him to California?

BRAUCHLER:  That part, I don’t know. I don’t know how much control we still have – or veto power over where they ship him. But again, these are fantastic questions to ask and I come back to the thing I led with, which is how is the federal government more transparent and more certain of itself on providing public access to the location of inmates than our own Department of Corrections?

BONNIWELL: Well, our Department of Corrections, who is their PR firm?  Because I don’t exactly get –.

HAYDEN: They don’t say, you know – sometimes, the public information officers – you know, I’m sure it’s not an easy job.  But, recently, there was a Denver guy they were transporting to DOC — an inmate—who somehow escaped from a van that he was being transported in at I-70 and Sheridan, and ran away.  So, you know, you want to ask the obvious question:  “Well, how did that happen?” I mean, they caught him right away.  But they just issued a statement saying that they’re not saying anything.

BONNIWELL:  Yeah.  “It’s under investigation.”

HAYDEN:  It’s sort of like the Army.  You can’t – “we could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you.”  Well, listen, one other topic I wanted to ask you about.  And then, feel free [to jump in] if there’s something else going on, too.  But they – I know there’s some talk about one of the other bills up in the legislature that is going to convene– the sexting thing.—changing it so that it gives prosecutors a little bit –particularly when it involves kids texting – or sexting, I guess, to each other.  You know, you don’t have to convict everybody of child pornography. Um, what do you think of that bill, and where is that going?

BRAUCHLER:  That’s a bill sponsored by Rhonda Fields.  And I’d have to say, on almost any other social values issue I imagine we are not in the same place.  But in my time in office, Representative Fields has been phenomenal on criminal justice matters for us, in fact taking on the entirety of the other Democrats on the issues of the death penalty and things like that.  So one of the things I appreciate about this bill is we came to her — and other people have come to her and said, “Look, here is the only tools prosecutors have:  do nothing, or charge them – even as a juvenile — with the child pornography charge which carries registration as a sex offender and that means you can’t seal it when they’re not juveniles anymore.  So,  this, I think, is a reasonable measure, a way to say, “Look, there’s got to be something in between nothing and everything.  And so, this provides –only available to juveniles — a misdemeanor, non-sex offense charge that allows us to bring them into the periphery of the system – through diversion or even if we end up taking them into court where they can get – and we’re working on a specific class to deal with this.  It’s rolling out this quarter.  But to address those things without putting them in the position where this thing haunts them for the rest of their lives, because this is not that kind of a [inaudible] –. 

BONNIWELL:  Exactly.  And the DA – and I forget who the DA is who decided not to charge them.  You know, kudos to him.



HAYDEN:  Well, let me just – what other question?  Anything else going—because I know you keep a –.

BONNIWELL:  Well, there is a –.  I want to ask, isn’t there a bill that would extend the statute of limitations, or [inaudible] the statute of limitations for sexual assault?

BRAUCHLER:  There is.  And again, this is another bill run by Representative Fields. And you know, to say that this isn’t the Bill Cosby bill — you kinda have to squint real hard to see that, because it didn’t exist before this.   Now, we’ve had conversations in the past about, “Is 10 years enough for these kinds of crimes – for what it does to victims and how long they report?”   But we have, with virtually every other aspect of sex assault – I’ll give you two examples I can think of.  One is, if it’s sex assault against a child, there is no statute of limitations.  If it’s a sex assault and someone goes in and reports and provides DNA, there is no statute of limitations.  So, this is the last piece of that — I guess — potential victim circle, and that is people who are victims for which there is either no DNA or they don’t go in and report right away. I have my own concerns about this, because as you know, Chuck, as an attorney,  statute of limitations exist to limit government.  It doesn’t exist for any other reason.

BONNIWELL:  Exactly!  In my view, it’s an awful bill. It is an awful bill. It is hard enough – it is hard enough when you have ‘he said, she said’ cases when they are a week old, when there are a month old.   If you have then where they are decades-old, the chance for injustice is enormous– is just one enormous.  And the fact that the Bill Cosby is getting away with it – you know, hard cases make for bad law.  But to do away with this is to create injustice.  And we’ve watched enough DNA cases where there is injustice that no one in their right mind can believe that juries are always right.  We know they’re not always right. They do the very best they can, but there is an enormous number of cases–.  We have the case coming up here in Colorado, where they charged the guy –.

HAYDEN:  Clarence Moses-EL.

BONNIWELL:  Yeah, Moses-EL.  And now, you know, he has served 28 years.  Um, the police quote-unquote “lost” all of the DNA evidence.  I mean, you know, do we really have to have more injustice?  Because that’s what this bill is – injustice.  If you haven’t reported a rape for 30 years, maybe that’s not a case that should be tried, regardless of the fact that 30 years ago something happened.

BRAUCHLER:  I think that is a compelling argument.  I do. And I think that what is required here – because this is pulling off a limitation on what prosecutors can pursue, I think is to, one: make sure we continue to make prosecutors accountable to the public through frequent elections and I guess the term limits that we have imposed.  But to – you know, I said this to Rhonda.  I’ve said this to others who have asked me about it, I said, “I don’t know if this will result in one extra case being filed.” As you point out, these cases are extremely difficult a year later.  But thirty years later.  So the part that you’re concerned about, and it’s legitimate when you’re talking about the government, is the abuse of that prosecutorial discretion.  Someone who would take thin evidence, figure out a way to get an indictment or an information filed, drag someone throught a trial, and possibly — that is all the [inaudible].

BONNIWELL: Or plea bargain!  Or get them to plea bargain!  Hey!

BRAUCHLER:  Or a plea bargain.

BONNIWELL:  But hey, we’re going to charge you – hey, we found that – we’ve got this, you know, some sharp police detective will go, “Well, I know how we’ll get this guy!  You know, we can’t get him on this charge –” which is really what the Al-Turqi case is—“we can’t get him on this charge, and we can’t get him on this charge, so let’s invent another charge.”

HAYDEN:  I don’t think that’s the Al-Turqi case.

BONNIWELL:  That is the Al-Turqi case.

HAYDEN:  Okay, well, we won’t go there!

BRAUCHLER:  [inaudible]  We got Al-Turqi on trial, though.  The jury found him guilty.

HAYDEN:  That’s right.

BONNIWELL:  Well, they found him guilty of – what they really thought, though, was he is a terrorist.  And then they decided, “Well, we really don’t have any evidence on the terrorism, so we’ll get him on a sex crime.”

HAYDEN:  That’s a different topic for another day.

BONNIWELL:  All right, all right. Julie and I disagree with that one, but as you might tell.

BRAUCHLER: I think the other side of this, though, — and maybe this would be Julie’s position – is look, being a victim of a sexual assault – and I’ve never been.  I can’t claim to be, but from the ones that I’ve dealt with over 20 years of doing this, and from the cases I’ve sat in on and been briefed on, it changes a person and it affects them.  And a willingness come forward and subject yourself to a system by saying, “I have been sexually assaulted,” that is not insignificant.  And I can see circumstances where there may be enough evidence to move forward and someone is allowed to be kept in a position to come forward and say, “this is what happened to me. Can you investigate?” and have someone help [inaudible].

BONNIWELL:  But the incredible abuse, in fact there is a recent priest case where a priest was destroyed and now they found that the claims were utterly fraudulent.  So, and you know, he died a defrocked priest, accused of crimes that there is now proven probably never occurred.  So, the other side is important, too.

HAYDEN:  Yeah, and it is –

BRAUCHLER:  There was a – this same bill was tied in Nevada, I think, last year with the same terms, and what they ended up compromising to was extending the statute of limitations to I think to 20 years, which would be a doubling of our current statute of limitations.  And I have to say, you know, I am committed to the idea that 10 years is probably not enough, but unlimited is tougher.  If we ended up coming out of this with something that was longer but not forever, I don’t know that that’s a bad thing, either.

HAYDEN:  All right.  Yeah, and I think,  you know what,  I think from my conversations with Rhonda Fields, too, I think, that’s the kind of thing she is prepared for.

BONNIWELL:   I still think 10 years is enough.  But that’s [inaudible].