Cory Voorhis, ex-ICE agent, sort of running for under sheriff job in Adams County
Cory Voorhis is still fighting to get his job back after being fired as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent for blowing the whistle in controversial fashion on a plea-bargaining practice. But he's also got his eye on a new gig. He's actively campaigning on behalf of James R. Fariello, an American Constitution Party candidate for Adams County sheriff -- and he confirms that Fariello has promised to appoint him as under sheriff if he wins.
To recap Voorhis's story:
Back in 2006, the agent was troubled by what he saw as the common practice of charging illegal immigrants who'd committed serious crimes with agricultural trespass, which he describes on his legal defense website as "a low level felony that does not generally result in deportation." He subsequently gave information about one such case -- it involved Carlos Estrada Medina, an accused heroin dealer who was later arrested in California on suspicion of sexually abusing a child -- to Congressman Bob Beauprez, who was running for Colorado governor. The information was gleaned from a restricted-access database.
Although Voorhis says he provided Beauprez the info due to the latter's role as a Congressman and acted as a whistleblower, Beauprez used it in attack ads aimed at Democratic candidate Bill Ritter, who was alleged to have used the agricultural trespass charge for Estrada Medina when he was Denver's district attorney. But the Ritter campaign turned the tables on Beauprez by putting the focus on the accessing of the database -- an action for which Voorhis was subsequently fired, although he was acquitted in a case that charged him with criminal wrongdoing.
Voorhis's firing and prosecution became a major factor in former Ritter aide Stephanie Villafuerte's bid to become U.S. Attorney -- and she ultimately withdrew her name for the job. But despite being namechecked in Congress by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Voorhis lost the first round in his bid to get his job back.
The battle goes on, Voorhis says. "On July 9, I filed an appeal to the full Merit System Protection Board" -- the body that is hearing his complaint about improper dismissal. "It's an 87-page document up on my legal defense website, and it points out a bunch of erroneous factual and law conclusions the judge made in ruling." He adds that he's "anxious for the full board to weigh in," but "there's no set time frame" for them to do so. For that reason, "out of an abundance of caution, I'm not going to get my hopes up for a decision until around this time next year."
In the meantime, Voorhis is beating the drum for Fariello, who he describes as "a longtime law-enforcement veteran who's throwing his hat into the ring. I know him, I know what he stands for, what he's about, and he's a really good guy.
"I'm not a candidate for anything," Voorhis stresses. "But Jim's consulted with me on some law-enforcement issues up there, and he's said he would appoint me under sheriff if he's elected."
Among the issues of note for Voorhis: the agricultural trespass plea.
"Adams County is a troubled jurisdiction," he allows. "The agricultural-trespass shenanigans were going on up there in a big fashion, and that needs to change -- and I'd like to be a part of that."
As Voorhis concedes, "the DA's office is the office that ultimately decides what charges are proferred in a plea agreement. But most certainly the law enforcement agency that brings the charges can expose that kind of thing. They can see if there are bona fide cases against criminals that are being reduced to that plea. In each and every one of the cases that I've seen, the sole purpose of the agricultural-trespass plea was obstructing immigration laws in order to prevent a person from being removed from the country -- and law enforcement has an obligation to stand up and say, 'This is wrong.'
"That hasn't happened anywhere in the metro area. But Jim is a man of impeccable character, and if he sees a situation in which an agricultural trespass plea represents the obstruction of justice, he would expose that."
As a so-called third party candidate, Fariello is by no means assured of victory, but Voorhis is doing all he can to help. In the meantime, he says, "I still have to survive and get by, just like everybody else. We're going through life trials day to day and doing the best we can to make ends meet."
Page down to read Voorhis's full pitch on behalf of Fariello: