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Fremont Co. Sheriff: 925 cases in two years have been dismissed, sealed under District Attorney

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) – In numbers given exclusively to 13 Investigates, Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper said his office has tracked 925 cases, 166 of which are felony cases, that have been dismissed and then sealed under 11th Judicial District Attorney Linda Stanley's watch.

The numbers are dismissals from January 1, 2021, to early May 2023 from Fremont and Custer counties since Stanley took office.

The Sheriff said the total number includes felony, misdemeanor, and traffic case dismissals. Stanley charged 418 of those cases herself, including 99 felonies. The rest are cases that she inherited from previous District Attorney's.

13 Investigates crunched the numbers on the total amount of felony cases filed by Stanley's office in 2021 and 2022. That number is 1,174, which equates to a little over 14% of felony cases that have been dismissed and then sealed in that timeframe.

"I thought it was awfully high. If you look at it, it's more than one a day, even for holidays on weekends," Sheriff Cooper said. "It's work that my staff and the staff of the other law enforcement agencies that for all intents and purposes was wasted."

Cooper said he's personally had his team track these numbers after documented discovery violations by the 11th Judicial District Attorney's office. Those violations have led to numerous cases being dismissed in recent months. Those cases have included various people accused of sexual assault on children and women in the Fremont County community.

13 Investigates asked Cooper what kind of impact these numbers have on public safety in Fremont and Custer counties, to which Cooper replied it's difficult to access after the cases have been sealed.

"That's part of the problem, without knowing what those crimes are, I can't give you an adequate answer for that," Cooper said.

It's no secret that Cooper and Stanley do not get along. The Sheriff has long criticized the way Stanley has handled the cases his office has handed over for prosecution, and as he describes it, the two are not on "speaking terms."

"The last meeting that I had with Ms. Stanley did not go well, so now our communication is handled by my staff and her staff," Cooper explained.

Despite the riff, Cooper told 13 Investigates it was important to be transparent with the public regarding the actions of the elected DA. He said it's his responsibility to be responsive to his constituents.

In the last few months, 13 Investigates has reached out to Stanley with dozens of requests for comment on topics ranging from budgets, to countless discovery violations, to case dismissals.

In fact, 13 Investigates filed a public records request for her office's case felony case dismissal rate for 2021 and 2022 two months ago. Those requests have gone unanswered by Stanley and her office.

However, for this story, Stanley did provide 13 Investigates with a statement - the first time in months.

Email from DA Linda Stanley, May 18, 2023

13 Investigates compared the numbers from Sheriff Cooper to dismissal numbers from the 18th Judicial District, run by District Attorney John Kellner.

They prosecute approximately eight times as many felony cases as DA Stanley's office and their felony dismissal rate is around 10.5% in 2021 and 2022. They dismissed 849 felony cases in the last two years.

In comparison to Stanley's office continually refusing to provide numbers to 13 Investigates, Kellner's office was able to provide these numbers within hours of making our request.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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