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Plea Bargain Bill

Friday, September 29, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez is running for governor against former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter.  Today his campaign released the details of a plea bargain assembly line running through Ritter’s shop that took suspected felons who were aliens –both legal and illegal– and plea bargained them to “agricultural lands trespass,” one of the very few “crimes” that does not carry with it a deportation order.  It will only be a matter of time until these individuals are identified and their subsequent conduct scrutinized.  From the press release:

Federal law mandates deportation for both legal and illegal aliens who have committed felonies, such as assault, burglary, weapons violations, menacing and drug crimes. Public records reveal that during his time as Denver District Attorney, Ritter consistently utilized an obscure plea bargain charge of trespassing on farmland in the City and County of Denver. As a result, criminals who should have been deported were let go.

“It’s an absolute outrage that Bill Ritter would take a criminal alien who committed a crime like assault in the first degree and plea bargain them down to this absurd charge of trespassing on farmland in Denver. The fact that Ritter would intentionally use a gross loophole to avoid enforcing the law is proof positive that he ignored his obligation to protect communities.”

A cursory review of public court documents provides irrefutable evidence that felonies committed by legal and illegal aliens were systematically plea bargained down to the non-deportable offense of trespassing on farmland.

“This could be just the tip of the iceberg,” said campaign manager John Marshall. “It’s unclear how many deportable criminals have been released back onto the streets because of Bill Ritter. We know of at least 192 felonies that were plea bargained to this non-deportable offense. But rest assured that our investigation into this very serious problem will continue.”

“As Governor, I will work with law enforcement to ensure we have the resources necessary to enforce the law, not take the easy way out at the expense of our safety,” concluded Beauprez.

A transcript of the Beauprez interview is here.  Watch the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News tomorrow to see if the press digs in.  If any of these plea bargains stayed in state and committed subsequent crimes, accountability for an incredible policy will catch up quickly to plea bargain Bill.

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