H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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The Shame of Winning at All Costs

Colorado detective charged with perjury
DENVER — Fort Collins Police Lt. James Broderick, the lead detective in the Tim Masters murder investigation, was on Wednesday indicted by the Larimer County Grand Jury on eight counts of first-degree perjury, The Denver Post reports.

Broderick is accused of concealing evidence that would have helped Masters at his 1998 trial, at which he was found guilty of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick. The conviction was overturned in 2008 when DNA evidence pointed to other suspects.

Weld County DA Ken Buck is handling the case against Broderick in his role as special prosecutor for Larimer County

Weld County DA Ken Buck is handling the case against Broderick in his role as special prosecutor for Larimer County.

Tim Masters was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted for murder – after spending nine years in prison, he has been exonerated by DNA evidence and the detective from his case – Lt. Jim Broderick – is being prosecuted for perjury:

Masters, who served nine years of a life sentence after his 1998 arrest in Peggy Hettrick’s murder, has said he hopes Fort Collins and Larimer County will finally acknowledge that he was railroaded.

The city and county have paid Masters a combined $10 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit related to the conviction, but they painted the payouts as business decisions rather than reparations.

“I am anxious to see if the leadership in Fort Collins will finally publicly admit my incarceration was a mistake or if they will continue this charade that their people did nothing wrong,” Masters said in a statement provided by his attorneys. . . .

. . . Among the charges in the indictment are that Broderick intentionally lied about an FBI profile used to support Masters’ arrest, shoeprints found at the crime scene, a fellow investigator’s crime scene observations and his own degree of participation in the case.

The prosecutors that put Tim in prison have since been rewarded by being elected as judges – Jolene Blair and Terry Gilmore.

Although the city and county have paid out $10 million, they still admit no wrongdoing.

H. Michael’s Take:

It should come as no surprise that a police officer would lie to obtain a win. Those of us on the inside of the system — myself as a former career DA (prosecutor) and the entire defense bar, understand the mindset of “winning at all costs” along with the pressures on young prosecutors to earn their stripes. This case is the tip of an enormous iceberg whose size and depth will most likely never be wholly revealed.

What the case does, however, is highlight deficiencies in the criminal justice system that lead – every day- to injustice. My compliments to my old friend David Lane.. a true champion of due process ..

Here is the Colorado Law on the crime of perjury:

Perjury in the first degree consists of making a materially false statement under oath in the course of an official proceeding. While perjury in the second degree involves a false statement, it does not involve an official proceeding. False swearing is a catch-all for any materially false statement that does not fall under perjury in the first degree or perjury in the second degree. Perjury during official proceedings is most commonly associated with the sworn testimony of a witness in court.

Perjury in the first degree is a Class 4 felony, perjury in the second degree is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and false swearing is a Class 1 petty offense H