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Lawyers: Colorado Springs detective's arrest 'undermines' cases

August 1, 2015 Updated: August 1, 2015 at 3:56 pm
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photo - Paul Patton, 39
Paul Patton, 39 

Allegations that could shatter a homicide detective's credibility could have serious consequences for cases he has investigated, Colorado Springs defense attorneys say.

Colorado Springs Police Department Detective Paul D. Patton was arrested Monday on suspicion of falsely accusing a kidnapping victim of stalking him after she threatened to tell someone about their sexual relationship. Patton, 39, was assigned as the lead investigator in her kidnapping case after it was reported to police Sept. 3.

One man accused of kidnapping her has been convicted and sentenced, and a second faces trial in September.

"As a whole, I think this completely undermines the cases that he's been working on because the police have now said that this actor, this detective, is not a truthful person," defense attorney Jeremy Loew said. "He's willing to lie to law enforcement."

In July, Patton allegedly had sex with the kidnapping victim on his unmarked police vehicle and exchanged sexually graphic text messages and emails using his police-issued email address and cellphone, according to his arrest affidavit.

The allegations come after years of stellar reviews for Patton, a 15-year veteran of the force. Heavily-redacted performance evaluations dating to 2001 were released to The Gazette through an open records request.

Supervisors continually rated Patton as a top cop, citing customer service and teamwork as strengths.

Patton was honored with the department's Medal of Valor in 2013, the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs said on its website.

Patton's highest marks came in January, when leaders gave Patton a 2.84 rating on a 3-point scale.

The latest allegations, though, mean Patton likely would not be a good witness in court about the cases he's investigated, Loew said. His credibility has been shot, and defense attorneys would cross-examine him about it.

By law, anyone found to have lied through administrative investigations or criminal proceedings is added by the police department to the "Brady List," police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley said Friday. The information is provided to any attorney working on a case that officer is party to, she said.

The department does not have a policy regarding re-investigating cases when a detective is accused of lying, Buckley said. Everyone at the department takes an oath to uphold the law when they become officers, and cases like Patton's are rare.

Patton's arrest probably won't affect cases that have been closed, Loew said, because it would have to be proven that he lied during testimony and that it affected the outcome of the case.

Anthony Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in the kidnapping case of the victim who was allegedly romantically involved with Patton, and he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He would likely have a strong case to withdraw his plea, said defense attorney Josh Tollini.

"It causes a substantial amount of extra work for the detectives on the homicide unit," Tollini said.

He also said it is "incredibly rare" for someone on Patton's level to be arrested on suspicion of lying, and that as a whole, the Colorado Springs police homicide unit is full of respected detectives. Patton's alleged actions are a stain on their reputation, Tollini said.

"It affects the reputation of the Colorado Springs Police Department as a whole."

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Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362

Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos

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