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.

Supreme Court Offensive Trademarks
This Nov. 15, 2016 photo shows a view of the Supreme Court from the Capitol Dome, on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Asian-American rock band called the Slants has spent years locked in a legal battle with the government over its refusal to trademark the band’s name. The fight will play out Wednesday at the Supreme Court as the justices consider whether a law barring disparaging trademarks violates the band's free speech rights. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Incoming Sheriff Bill Elder is sworn in as interim sheriff of El Paso County by Judge Gilbert Martinez at Centennial Hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. Elder was sworn in a couple of weeks early, because of the retirement of scandal plagued, Sheriff Terry Maketa. Elder's fiancé Joy Mitchell stood at his side during the swearing in ceremony. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Volunteer Steve Sjordal removes a stump Saturday, May 30, 2015, as Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado work on the Dixon Trail to the top of Cheyenne Mountain from Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The trail is expected to be completed by 2019. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Defense attorney Phil Tate, 78, talks in his Colorado Springs office Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, about his life as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, history professor at Air Force Academy and lawyer. Tate, who has practiced law in Colorado Springs for more than 20 years, is retiring. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa ducks under a microphone cord as he avoids reporter's questions on his way to speak to the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at Centennial Hall. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger.