Former Kremmling police chief delays trial; case could be headed to plea
After initially urging a speedy trial, lawyers for former Kremmling police chief Jamie Lucas have asked to delay it until April.
In an unopposed motion, defense attorney Jeffrey Eidsness cited the worsening COVID-19 pandemic as a major reason for the delay. The motion also indicates Lucas, who’s repeatedly maintained his innocence, could be willing to accept a plea deal.
“The parties are engaging in renewed plea negotiations in this case which is expected to result in the avoidance of trial,” the motion reads.
Eidsness didn’t return a request for comment on Monday. District Attorney Matt Karzen didn’t comment further on the ongoing negotiations.
The defense’s request echos comments from Judge Nicholas Catanzarite who previously pushed the trial back to December because of concerns about following guidelines and reducing the spread of the virus.
The motion noted that many of the conditions that led to Catanzarite’s earlier decision still exist and some have worsened, including the number of positive COVID cases in Grand County.
“While the parties announced on Sept. 21, 2020, that they are ready to proceed with trial, the fast-moving developments with the COVID-19 pandemic since Sept. 21 have cast serious doubt as to whether this trial can safely happen as scheduled,” the defense motion reads.
Considering the current situation, Karzen had no issues with granting the request.
The trial has been rescheduled to April 26-29.
Originally, when Judge Catanzarite moved to declare a mistrial in September, Eidsness argued against it, citing Lucas’ right to a speedy trial.
Lucas has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and court appearances, claiming the charges were retaliatory for comments he made against the DA’s office.
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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