Ex-police chief pleads guilty to misconduct, sentenced to probation
Despite repeatedly proclaiming his innocence, former Kremmling police chief Jamie Lucas pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of official misconduct.
Lucas was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and 36 hours community service after pleading guilty to reduced charges through a plea agreement that vacated Lucas’ April trial and kept him out of jail. He must also pay a $100 fine and court costs.
After accepting the deal, Grand County Judge Nicholas Catanzarite issued the sentence.
Previously, Lucas had faced multiple counts of official misconduct, official oppression and false reporting for his handling of an animal abuse case, in which three juveniles were alleged to have killed a feral cat.
That case sparked an investigation into Lucas’ actions in 2019, including whether he filed charges in the wrong jurisdiction, when he was the chief.
Through the plea deal, all charges against Lucas but one were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to second degree official misconduct, a petty offense.
Lucas, who had repeatedly professed his innocence since being charged and claimed the investigation was retaliation from the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, opted not to speak in court Monday.
“I will yield to my attorney,” Lucas told the judge.
Often one of Lucas’ targets over the last year, 14th District Attorney Matt Karzen thanked the former police chief for taking responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty. Per the plea agreement, jail time was not an option.
“I appreciate that Mr. Lucas taking ownership with this plea,” Karzen said while asking for Lucas to be sentenced to one year of supervised probation so that he could continue “proactive reflection.”
Lucas’ attorney, Josh Raaz, lobbied for just the fine, arguing that supervised probation doesn’t serve a purpose in this case.
Ultimately, the judge decided supervised probation seemed unnecessary and felt like unsupervised probation and community service were more appropriate.
“The allegations here are concerning, especially given Mr. Lucas’ former position as law enforcement in the district, so I don’t take this lightly,” Catanzarite said. “I also don’t take lightly Mr. Lucas, as Mr. Kazen put it, taking ownership of what happened.”
Because Lucas pleaded guilty to a petty offense, it’s unclear how the conviction will impact his ability to work in law enforcement going forward. According to the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training, certain misdemeanors prevent certification to become a law enforcement officer. The standards don’t comment on petty offenses.
Lucas was placed on administrative leave in December 2019. The Kremmling Town Board voted not to reappoint him as chief in April.
Dec. 4 – Grand County Sheriff’s Office takes over the investigation into an alleged case of animal abuse involving three juveniles.
Dec. 13 – Fraser Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor confirms his department is investigating Kremmling Police Chief Jamie Lucas for potential misconduct.
Dec. 20 – The town of Kremmling places Lucas on paid administrative leave after receiving a letter from the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office that Lucas had been Brady listed.
Jan. 2 – The DA’s office reviewed the Fraser Winter Park Police Department’s investigation after it was completed in December.
Jan. 22 – In response to the allegations of misconduct, Lucas takes a polygraph and requests a special prosecutor. The DA refutes Lucas’ claims.
Jan. 31 – The DA’s office files 15 charges against Lucas after reviewing the concluded Fraser Winter Park Police Department investigation.
April 22 – Kremmling’s town board votes unanimously not to reappoint Lucas as police chief and directs the town manager to begin a job search for a new chief.
May 5 – Lucas pleads not guilty to the charges he faces and a trial is set for Oct. 12-13.
June 15 – Lucas’ attorney files a motion to dismiss the case or appoint a special prosecutor.
June 26 – Karzen files response to Lucas’ motion asking the judge to deny it.
July 17 – Judge Catanzarite issues an order denying Lucas’ motion.
Sept. 21 – Judge Catanzarite declares a mistrial for the October trial and reschedules for Dec. 7-10.
Nov. 5 – Lucas’ attorney files a motion to continue the trial to April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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