Eagle County sheriff candidate Paul Agneberg out of jail despite refusal to sign PR bond

Agneberg writes 'vis compulsiva' in box where signature is supposed to be

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Paul Agenberg, the unaffiliated candidate running for Eagle County sheriff, is arrested following a candidate forum Wednesday in Eagle.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Paul Agneberg, the unaffiliated candidate running for Eagle County sheriff, was released from jail Thursday at about 11:30 a.m. Agneberg was taken into custody Wednesday night by Undersheriff Dan Loya and another deputy from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office following his debate with incumbent Sheriff James van Beek at a candidate forum hosted by the Vail Daily.

Agneberg was wanted for unpaid traffic tickets in both Eagle and Lake Counties, and received appearance bonds, with court dates set for Nov. 9 in Eagle County and Nov. 22 in Lake County.

Agneberg said he didn’t sign the bonds, however, refusing to check the consent box and writing the words “vis compulsiva” in the signature box.

Agneberg, in an emailed statement sent Friday to the Vail Daily, said the bond paperwork doesn’t constitute a valid contract and, therefore, he doesn’t intend to show up for court.

“I was unaware of any warrant for my arrest,” Agneberg wrote in his email. “I did not receive anything in the mail saying I had any warrants. The date for the arrest warrant is 7/13/22. My candidacy for Sheriff was announced in summer 2021. I can guarantee you that the Eagle County Combined Courts nor Lake County courts can provide any documents with my signature on them that say I promised to appear in court.”

A news release sent Friday afternoon by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office states that: “Running for sheriff when you have a pattern of only showing up to court under bench warrants, is certainly a new approach to campaigning. Judges don’t take kindly to no-shows when they have allowed someone out on bail or on their own recognizance. It elevates a relatively minor offense to a whole new level, consequently, one can be taken into custody at unanticipated times.”

The release goes on to state that “an individual with an outstanding warrant is added to a national database that can be accessed by any law enforcement officer at any time. There are similar databases available to members of the public, as outstanding warrants are generally open for inspection. Paul Agneberg was already in the database for previous similar offenses, and he was familiar to several deputies. Agneberg had active warrants from both Eagle County and Lake County for failure to appear in court. The Undersheriff was made aware and passed this information onto Mr. Agneberg, prior to the candidate forum.”

The release continues: “As law enforcement, we are obligated to comply with all warrants issued but can use discretion in how it is handled. In this case, we determined that he wasn’t a threat to the community and the arrest could wait until after the candidate forum so that Agneberg could make his candidacy positions heard. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office used the utmost discretion in enforcing the warrant.”

Van beek offered a statement in the release, saying: “I admire my deputies for always doing their jobs, without fear of reprisal or political repercussions, and for executing restraint in effectuating the arrest, until after the candidate forum.” 

Agneberg, in his emailed statement to the Vail Daily, said he was familiar with several deputies and van Beek from his work at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo in July, but said he was never made aware of any warrants for his arrest until the day of the candidate forum.

“I saw Sheriff James van Beek several times and he even greeted me with a handshake and a smile and I saw several Sheriff’s Deputies during the 6-day event,” Agneberg wrote in his email about his work at the rodeo. “On 8/29/2022, I attended a meet and greet for candidates for the Town of Eagle Police Chief. Undersheriff Dan Loya was at this event and he greeted me with a handshake and a smile. At no time during any encounters with Sheriff’s Deputies was I made aware of any warrants for my arrest.”

Agneberg continued: “On the day of the debate, as I was preparing for the debate, I made several phone calls to the Sheriff’s Office investigating the amount of income that they make on victimless crimes. I probably called the Sheriff’s Office 5 times in 2 hours looking for information to my questions. On my final call I was transferred to Undersheriff Dan Loya, who told me that I have 2 outstanding warrants out for my arrest and he said ‘you are likely to be arrested tonight if there is law enforcement present.’ That statement shook me. I was already feeling nervous and anxious about the debate and that statement exponentially increased my anxiety. I felt like Dan Loya was trying to intimidate and silence me. I am a peaceful person. I am being charged with victimless crimes. I have never hurt anybody or stolen anything and they are attempting to use violence and intimidation in order to raise revenue from me.”

Agneberg wrote in his email to the Vail Dail that the video of his arrest, which he has made available to a number of media outlets, shows him questioning the validity of the arrest warrant because it doesn’t have a signature from a judge.

“A large part of my campaign is about questioning the validity of the enforcement of victimless crimes,” he wrote. “I want to have the safest county in Colorado because I don’t want the people to be worried about being robbed by law enforcement officers. And that’s what separates me from the existing sheriff: I will never use violence against peaceful, non-violent people.”

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