Judge, attorney clash over timing in Ryan case
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A frustrated judge and an attorney new to the case collided on Thursday in the prosecution of alleged thief Shawnee Ryan.
“I cannot delay this further,” said Ninth District Judge Denise Lynch of the felony theft case against Ryan.
“These victims need justice, as well as Ms. Ryan,” the judge said, noting that the case has gone on for nearly two years.
Ryan, 54, was arrested in May 2010, after a year-long investigation by area authorities, and charged with six counts of theft. She is accused of defrauding approximately 40 clients of her design businesses.
Ryan was arrested again in September 2010 on charges of check fraud and violating the conditions of her bond in the theft case.
Ryan was in court on Thursday for the first time with her new attorney, Kathy Goudy of Carbondale, who was appointed after public defender Jim Conway withdrew from the case, citing conflicts with Ryan.
Judge Lynch said at Thursday’s hearing that she wanted to set a trial date immediately.
“There’s been one delay after another,” Lynch told Goudy. “We’re going to have to set this for trial.”
Among the apparent reasons for delay in the case is that Ryan had been trying to fire Conway’s office for some time, as shown by a letter she sent to Judge Lynch in late 2010.
Goudy objected to setting a trial date now. She argued that with multiple charges to be analyzed and 10,000 pages of documents to be reviewed, setting a trial date now would interfere with her ability to prepare a defense.
“I work at night,” the judge remarked at this point. “You can work at night, too.”
“I do work at night,” Goudy replied.
Goudy offered to withdraw as Ryan’s attorney, but the judge replied, “I’m not going to allow you to withdraw. I’m not going to delay this. I’ve made it very clear.”
Goudy then argued that, by setting a trial date, the judge effectively would be preventing any plea negotiations with the district attorney’s office.
But prosecutor Andrea Bryan said she would leave the door open to plea negotiations even after a trial date had been set.
Goudy then noted that Ryan has not yet filed a plea in the case. Goudy asked the judge to state the grounds on which the court would essentially be filing a plea of not guilty on Ryan’s behalf by setting a trial date.
The judge responded that her grounds are that the trial has been delayed unnecessarily. She continued the case until Feb. 14, when a trial date will be set.
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