Medical marijuana persecution vs. improper law practice: More charges against Kurt Riggin

kurt riggin photo by timothy tipton.JPG
Photo by Timothy Tipton
Riggin goes to court in 2007.
Last month, we told you the bizarre story of Kurt Riggin, who's been charged before the Colorado Supreme Court with illegally practicing law -- although supposedly not for advocating on behalf of a medical marijuana patient in Park County, where he's facing separate accusations.

The weirdness continues. Riggin says the state has now gone after him for the Park County charges, too -- something he sees as "triple jeopardy."

The math is complicated even for Riggin. In his view, the new charge of unlawful practice of law keyed to the Park County incident, which could result in a 180-day jail sentence and a $2,000 fine, constitutes "double jeopardy for the Supreme Court and triple jeopardy for filing an informal administrative complaint."

To explain:

Last October, Riggin visited a medical marijuana patient in Park County along with MMJ advocate Timothy Tipton. According to Tipton, the Park County Sheriff's Office had been harassing the man, who reportedly suffers from pancreatic cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder: So the pair visited the office to file what Riggin refers to as an "informal administrative complaint" against the officer in question.

Trouble is, Riggin isn't allowed to practice law in Colorado, despite him being a tribal attorney who's worked with assorted Native American tribes. Indeed, back in 2008, he'd been found guilty in absentia of illegally practicing law in Colorado; click here to read the judgment against him, which includes a $1,000 fine he's never paid.

In Park County, Riggin insists he was merely acting as an advocate for the patient, much as Tipton had done. Nonetheless, he has been charged with attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation. He's got a June 28 court date in Park County related to these charges.

In December, Riggin says he received a letter from the office of attorney Kim Ikeler about the Park County case -- and he was subsequently told to attend a May 14 hearing before Supreme Court disciplinary judge William Lucero at which Ikeler represented the State of Colorado.

Neither Ikeler nor Supreme Court Regulation Counsel John Gleason will comment on the specifics of Riggin's case. But Riggin maintains that at the May 14 court appearance, Ikeler "claimed he didn't know anything" about the Park County incident. After that, he goes on, "I told the judge I wanted that statement made under penalty of perjury, and then I said, 'I'd like to submit exhibit B'" -- the letter from Ikeler's office.

Ikeler's response, according to Riggin? "He said, 'I can't confirm or deny that I know anything about this. But if I did, it would be privileged information.'" Instead, Riggin says, Ikeler insisted that the hearing pertained to his previous conviction.

Now, apparently, the tune has changed, with the latest charges specifically tied to the Park County matter. "I've got twenty days to respond," Riggin says, "and then they'll have to set a new court date before the same judge [Lucero]. I'm trying to figure out how this guy hopes to win in front of the same judge when he said he didn't know anything about it last time."

He adds that he'll answer the charges by "filing another copy of my sovereignty brief" pertaining to his tribal license, "and a criminal complaint against them."

Which could take this already strange case into an even odder direction.

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