Hess to take his case to the people
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs attorney Ted Hess said a charge of disorderly conduct brought against him by a deputy district attorney is “bullying.”
Deputy DA Billie Burchfield and Hess tangled in Garfield County Court in Rifle on July 25.
Hess had harsh words for both Burchfield and the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which has come under fire since DA Colleen Truden took office in January.
“DAs have vast power over people in criminal cases. Too often, they turn into bullies,” he said. “Since I entered civilian life after 31 years in the Marines … I was shocked to see how many of the deputy DA’s in the 9th Judicial District were simply bullies.”
Hess pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday. A jury trial is set for Dec. 15.
If convicted, Hess could get up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
District Attorney Bonnie Roesink, of the 14th Judicial District, will appoint a special prosecutor from her office. The 14th includes Routt and Moffatt counties.
Jovanovich has disqualified himself and another judge will be appointed to hear the case. He also issued an order Wednesday that Hess and Burchfield could have no contact with each other except for court business.
The dispute occurred July 25 involving two of Hess’ clients, Rebecca and Spencer Boothe, who were accused of harassment in an incident involving an altercation between the Boothes and the wife of Rebecca’s ex-husband. The incident happened at Bea Underwood Elementary School in Battlement Mesa in May.
Jovanovich dismissed the case, but Burchfield filed additional harassment charges.
“During closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Billie Burchfield became increasingly upset … her hands were trembling and her body appeared to be shaking,” Hess said in a court motion.
After the judge dismissed the case, “Mr. Hess turned to Ms. Burchfield and asked why she was ‘doing this’ or words to that effect. Ms. Burchfield then responded that she was taking this case personally and that she was personally offended. “Mr. Hess said, ‘I think you will regret it,'” the motion read.
According to his motion, Hess said he approached Burchfield outside the courtroom and “again asked her what she thought she was doing. A vigorous discussion ensued.”
Later, Hess said, Burchfield called out to him from the entryway to the Rifle courthouse, saying she took his words as a threat. Hess said he answered, “It’s not a threat. I just think you are way out of line here.”
Burchfield was not available for comment.
Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510
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