November 10, 2009
The ongoing feud between anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce and the Colorado Springs City Council over a trespassing charge is taking an unusual turn today.
Bruce said he subpoenaed several council members to a 1:30 p.m. court hearing in an attempt to show that he was the victim of “selective and vindictive political prosecution,” a move that may force the council to commence its regularly scheduled 1 p.m. meeting and then take a break to attend the court hearing next door at Municipal Court.
City prosecutors, however, will attempt to prevent a disruption of today’s council meeting.
“The municipal prosecutors are going to ask for motions to quash the subpoenas and to amend them,” city spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg said.
“If the court does not agree to that, council will take a break and go over,” she said. “But if the courts agree to that, I think we’ll be able to allow the meeting to continue until individuals are needed in the courtroom.”
The showdown stems from a trespassing charge filed against Bruce and another man for collecting signatures on a petition for ballot initiative 300, approved by voters last week, outside a Costco store in August.
A judge dismissed the case in September because the police officer who issued the summons and complaint changed the date on her copy of the paperwork after writing the wrong date.
But after the judge tossed out the case, City Attorney Patricia Kelly asked council members in an e-mail whether the city should file new charges against the two men.
Mayor Lionel Rivera and council members Scott Hente, Bernie Herpin and Jan Martin replied to the e-mail and instructed Kelly to pursue the charges.
“I have the e-mail, but I want them to confirm that they’ve never been asked that before, which shows that I’m being treated differently than other people,” Bruce said today.
“I mean, that is so unethical it stinks,” he added.
Police Chief Richard Myers urged going after Bruce and the other man, too.
“I strongly believe this is a law enforcement/prosecutorial matter, and as such, would ask that you proceed forthwith,” the chief said in the e-mail.
Bruce said a subpoena server also issued subpoenas to Kelly and Myers.
“The city attorney said she’s going to defy the subpoena and not show up,” Bruce said today. “I doubt that the judge has the courage to order the marshals to come over and escort her back to the court. But I would love to see it.”
Bruce said it’s “utterly unethical and illegal” for council members to have gotten involved.
“This has been a political, trumped up show trial as an act of vengeance against me and issue 300 from the beginning,” Bruce said.
For more on Bruce's wrangling with City Hall, go to the City Desk blog