Lucas pleads not guilty to misconduct, oppression, false reporting
Kremmling begins search for new chief
In the first court appearance for former Kremmling Police Chief Jamie Lucas since being charged with misconduct in January, he pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial via his attorney.
Lucas’ attorney Jeffrey Eidsness entered the plea Tuesday in Grand County Court as he requested a two-day jury trial, which Judge Nicholas Catanzarite set for Oct. 13-14 potentially extending through Oct. 15.
“We look forward to having this case be heard,” Eidsness said.
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.
Eidsness also asked the judge to set a status hearing in June because he said he plans to subpoena documents for Lucas’ defense from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. Lucas and Eidsness are also still discussing whether they will file for a special prosecutor.
After town leaders elected not to reappoint Lucas as Kremmling’s police chief on April 22, Lucas shared on Facebook that he is deeply disappointed with the decision and continued to accuse the sheriff’s office and the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of corruption. Eidsness echoed the sentiment again on Tuesday.
“Of course the chief and myself are disappointed given that we have not had the opportunity to address these allegations in court and that the town declined our offer to meet with them and discuss what’s going on,” Lucas’ attorney said.
Kremmling’s town board voted not to reappoint Lucas as chief of police after receiving a letter from Lucas urging the board to allow him to continue in the role.
Lucas had been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 20 after questions on his handling of an animal abuse case, where three juveniles are alleged to have killed a cat, sparked an investigation.
Based on the results of the investigation, the DA’s office charged Lucas with four counts each of first degree official misconduct, second degree official misconduct and official oppression, and three counts of false reporting to authorities.
It’s unclear why the board didn’t reappoint Lucas, as none of the board members commented on the reappointment nor Lucas’s letter during the April 22 meeting. Town Manager Dan Stoltman said he couldn’t speak to the board’s decision.
“I really can’t comment on personnel matters,” Stoltman said.
Stoltman added that he has begun searching for an interim chief for the police department and plans to finalize the job posting for a permanent chief with the board at its next meeting.
“I’m reaching out to Summit County, Silverthorne PD, I have reached out to Grand County and they’re all going to get back to me as soon as they can,” he said. “The goal is to have some candidates (for interim chief) for the board to review come the next meeting. At that next meeting, I will probably have a discussion on the police chief job description and whether they want to make any changes.”
After the meeting, Lucas took to Facebook to thank his supporters and express his disappointment, as well as echo claims from his letter that he is being targeted by the DA’s and sheriff’s offices.
In the letter, Lucas urged the board to keep him on as police chief, claiming that the charges he faced were retaliatory for raising ethical concerns with the DA’s office. He also asserts his faith that the charges will be dropped.
Responding to Lucas’s letter directly, District Attorney Matt Karzen said the accusations are false and reiterated that, to his knowledge, Lucas has never filed a formal complaint against the office, nor has he provided any evidence that he’s being targeted.
“Neither from (Lucas) nor his lawyer at any point have I ever heard anything in terms of back up as to why he’s saying that or why he thinks we’re corrupt,” Karzen said.
Karzen added that while he remembers meeting with Lucas in July 2019, he is certain that they did not discuss his office “using (Brady Violations) as a weapon,” like Lucas claimed in his letter.
Eidsness said he could not produce any associated documents at this time because they may be used to bolster an ask for a special prosecutor.
The district attorney hit Lucas with a Brady letter on Dec. 18, informing the town the DA’s office would no longer prosecute cases Lucas was involved with due to the investigation into his actions.
A motions hearing for Lucas’ trial is set for 2 p.m. Sept. 21.
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