COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Police Department released information on Friday saying they performed a felony audit, looking into the possibility that not all of their evidence made it to the District Attorney's office in up to 150 felony cases. News5 spoke with two attorneys who said this is a big deal, even if only one case did not get all the evidence needed before a punishment was decided.
Those cases come from their Metro Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence Division, and the majority of cases that make it to that department are felonies. Lt. John Koch from the Colorado Springs Police Department said in 2018 and 2019, the Metro Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence Division investigated around 3,200 cases, with arrests made in approximately 2,700. Out of the cases where arrests were made, 150 could be impacted by this potential discrepancy in evidence between the Colorado Springs Police Department and the District Attorney's office.
Lt. Koch said the cases being looked at are mainly drug distribution or possession charges, but nothing that involved an identified human victim. "Ensuring that the rights of the criminally accused are protected, and that was something when we looked at this we said, you know, we need to talk with the District Attorney's office and we need to go public... The vast majority of arrests don't go to trial, and we have to determine what cases may have been impacted, what happened to those cases, what their ultimate status was, and then get the information to the affected defendants and their attorneys, if there are any," said Lt. Koch.
News5 spoke with attorney Michael Moran, who explained how not having all of the information can impact a case. Moran said for drug charges, details like the weight of a substance or how evidence was collected can make all the difference. "You're entitled to that evidence... Did somebody go to jail, get separated from their family when they shouldn't have, that is a big deal," said Moran.
Moran has been practicing law for around 26 years, and said the whole system is based on fairness and making informed decisions. However, he said if it's found that some cases did not receive all the information needed before a defendant was sentenced, the damage could already be done. "Could the conviction be overturned, yeah, that can probably be mended. But if somebody faced consequences, such as your liberty stakes, or a job that you lost, or a home that you lost, I don't know how you fix that," said Moran.
Attorney Patrick Mika has been practicing law for almost four decades, and he also weighed in on this felony audit. "Rare doesn't matter, the fact is, if it happens once, it affects somebody's life... When a lawyer is not provided with all of the information in the police reports, the government has an unfair advantage," said Mika.
The Colorado Springs Police Department said they will start working with the District Attorney's office first thing on Monday. If any of the 150 cases are found to have missed evidence in the transfer from police to the District Attorney's office, the police department will contact those certain defense attorneys.
The Colorado Springs Police Department said they hope to have this process completed by the end of March.