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Author:

Lance Benzel

Legal Affairs reporter

Lance Benzel covers legal affairs for The Gazette, with a focus on the criminal courts, and also writes a monthly mountain biking column entitled "Rider in Residence." He joined the newspaper's staff in 2008 after previous stops in Billings, Mont., central North Carolina and Chicago.

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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - December 09: Robert Dear Jr. appears in court on December 09, 2015 where El Paso County prosecutors filed formal charges against him in the Planned Parenthood attack during which University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, Iraq war veteran Ke'Arre Stewart and Jennifer Markovsky, mother of two were killed on November 27, 2015. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post
Khalil Sanders.
Inmates play cards in the veterans ward at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. The county created the special ward to help meet the needs of the veteran inmates and give them more access to outside programs for them.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
FILE - Inmates play cards in the veterans ward at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Martin Drake Power plant
Martin Drake Power Plant shot from Gold Hill Mesa on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette
Carlos Rene Trejo, left, and Isaiah Pickett. Photos courtesy Colorado Springs Police Department.
Left to right: Shayanna Breann Burton, Ryan Michael Brown and Dylan Peters
El Paso County Jail
Man who died in custody at El Paso County jail identified (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Jail Deaths
ADVANCE FOR SATURDAY, JAN. 21, 2017 - In this Jan. 10, 2017 photo, Desiree Kalodnicki, who is the sister of of John Patrick Walter, seen in photo at left, reflects on her brother's life at her home in Peyton, Colo. Kalodnicki's brother died in Fremont County jail of severe withdrawal and she has sued the county and the private health care worker over it. The number of people who died in Colorado's jails more than doubled in four years, following a national trend of a rising death toll among inmates in city and county jails across the country. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP)
The complaint, which names El Paso County as the sole defendant, was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on behalf of Jasmine Still, a Colorado Springs woman who was held for 27 days after a court granted her pretrial release. (Courtesy of ACLU)