After listening to more than two hours of witness statements, 4th Judicial District Judge Larry Schwartz minced no words in addressing Sydney Huffman, a former Colorado Springs police officer guilty of drumming up false rape charges, among others, against her ex-boyfriend.
"I consider you to be a total fabricator," Schwartz told the visibly pregnant Huffman before he delivered her sentence. "This is a crime, simple as it can be. You are guilty of it."
Huffman, who was charged with six counts of attempting to influence a public official, pleaded guilty to just one felony count in April. All charges stemmed from her repeated attempts to obtain arrest warrants against Jarrott Martinez, a former Manitou Springs police officer, a former boyfriend. On Monday, Schwartz sentenced Huffman to 90 days of house arrest, 200 hours of community service and four-years of supervised probation. He also ordered her to have a mental health evaluation.
She deserved worse, Schwartz said in his cutting and blunt comments that wrapped up two years of litigation and back-and-forth between Huffman and Martinez.
"If I had the opportunity it would be outright jail," Schwartz said, before dismissing the case.
Schwartz was particularly baffled by Huffman's request to rescind her guilty plea from late April, yet another twist in a seemingly endless saga of recanting. Karen Stinehauser, Huffman's Denver-based lawyer, said on Monday that Huffman "only entered her plea because she was concerned about her pregnancy," not necessarily because she was guilty. Doctors declared the pregnancy high-risk and Huffman feared a miscarriage, her lawyer said in April.
"I have never had anybody quite in the position of admitting they committed a felony offense and literally in the next breath say, 'well that didn't happen,'" said Schwartz.
Ultimately, Schwartz decided not to discard the guilty plea.
The series of cases involving Martinez and Huffman began in 2011, when Huffman reported him for domestic violence abuse, charges later proven false. It was the first of four cases brought about by false charges from Huffman that landed Martinez in jail for seven months, as well as cost him his job as a police officer.
Huffman, now 25, was a 17 years old foster child when she met Martinez. She regularly spoke with social workers and first reported Martinez's alleged physical abuse to them, Stinehauser said. Later, at the Colorado Springs Police Academy, Huffman showed up to training classes with bruises and burns, but was "coy" with fellow officers when it came to offering details, said prosecutor Amy Fitch.
Then, by all accounts, Huffman embarked on a two-year crusade against Martinez Martinez was often out of town or with his financee. during the times when Huffman claimed he had raped her, choked or burned her with a curling iron.
While Stinehauser did not defend Huffman's lies, she tried to paint Huffman as avictim of domestic violence who was nearly coerced by fellow police officers into reporting the alleged abuse - except, Huffman exaggerated. Exaggerating physical abuse, and lying about the abuse, are typical of some "battered women," said expert witness Barbara Shaw during testimony on Monday.
Schwartz didn't buy it.
"I am used to hearing recanting victims," Schwartz told Huffman and her attorney. "The one thing in my experience that I've never seen, is that somebody doesn't recant, but they make up a new story that can be disproved."
Contact Ryan Maye Handy: 636-0261