Nov 11, 2009 12:42 AM by John Romero
Anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce is calling out the city of Colorado Springs for unfair prosecution practices after he and friend Douglas Steinhagan were cited for trespassing while collecting signatures for a ballot initiative. That was the focus of a pre-trial hearing Tuesday afternoon.
After about 7 hours of testimony and arguments on Tuesday that included everyone from city council to a Costco manager, a municipal judge ruled there was no prejudice on the cities' part and the men will stand trial.
Acting as his own attorney, Bruce contends that the city of Colorado Springs is out to get him because of his involvement in the 300 ballot initiative. Bruce showed the court an email from city attorney Patricia Kelly in which she asked city council members and police chief Richard Meyers if they wanted the charges against the men dropped. Kelly told the court she was merely letting the officials know of a case that would generate media interest. Some council members also took the stand and testified they took no part in the emails because they believed it could come off as "petty and vindictive." "This city is obviously engaged in a political prosecution." says Bruce, "I'm a former prosecutor. This is illegal, immoral and unethical."
Bruce also contends that the police policy regarding petitioning on private property was changed because of city resentment against him. CSPD Deputy Chief Ron Gibson and city attorney Will Bayne both refuted those claims. They say the policy was changed because of numerous complaints from "big box" stores about petitioners driving away customers.
The trial is set to begin on Friday in municipal court. Bruce told News First he still believes he cannot get a fair trial because the judge is a city employee.