Mary Celeste, county judge, cited by Denver cops for leaving granddaughter in hot car

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Mary Celeste.
Update: The 18th Judicial District DA's office decided not to charge County Court Judge Mary Celeste with a state criminal law violation for leaving her six-year-old granddaughter alone in a car on a blazing hot day while she picked up olive oil and a movie at Sam's Club. However, she has been cited for a municipal violation -- although the mechanics of this development were misstated by both the Denver Post and 9News.

Both 9News and Post columnist Bill Johnson reported that Celeste had been cited by the Denver City Attorney's Office for violating Municipal Code 34-43, which pertains to wrongs against minors. But that's not quite right, according to Denver City Attorney David Broadwell.

"There was an error in both the Channel 9 report and Bill Johnson's column this morning," Broadwell notes. "The City Attorney's Office did not bring charges against the judge. A citation was issued by the Denver Police Department.

"This is the way it usually works in the world of municipal ordinance violations," he continues. "Without any consultation with us, the police will issue a citation to somebody for an ordinance violation. Then they turn it over to us to decide what to do with it -- and that's what's going on in this situation as well."

As Broadwell concedes, his office's evaluation of the citation is complicated by what he calls "a natural conflict with our relationship with the Denver County Court, and all the judges of the court we regularly appear before." As such, he adds, "we're probably going to get some outside assistance in our evaluation" -- meaning that an outside agency will have to weigh the facts of the case and determine if prosecution is justified.

Nothing's firm on what this agency will be. "We're still going through that evaluation even as we speak," Broadwell says.

Celeste's attorney says his client regrets her actions, which took place shortly after the death of her father. But he stresses that she locked the doors of the car, turned on the fan, and was only inside the store for a short time.

Look below for our earlier coverage.

Original item, 7:51 a.m. August 2: Mary Celeste.For most people, justice isn't usually swift. But for County Court Judge Mary Celeste, it's moved lickety-split -- and left her free and clear of the most serious counts she might have faced for leaving her young granddaughter alone in a hot car while she stopped to shop this past week. The 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office has decided she shouldn't be prosecuted on state charges.

As first reported by 9News, a customer at the Alameda and South Broadway Sam's Club saw a child, age six, left alone in a car. Given that the temperature that day topped out at over 90 degrees, the patron quickly alerted store personnel, who called 911 and then tried to get the child out of the vehicle -- but the doors were locked. Staffers were trying to figure out what to do next when Celeste arrived. She told Denver Police she'd stopped briefly to pick up olive oil and a movie.

Celeste's attorney, Gary Jackson, subsequently told 9News that the judge regrets her actions, but emphasized that the child was never in danger. He says Celeste locked the doors for her granddaughters' protection and left the fan on -- and implied she may not have been thinking as cogently as usual because her father had died the previous day.

The 18th Judicial District DA's office was appointed to serve as a special prosecutor in the case. Yesterday, the office declared that "after a complete and thorough review of the facts presented to us," decision-makers "determined that the conduct involved does not rise to the level of a state criminal law violation."

This doesn't mean Celeste's entirely off the hook. The Denver Police Department can still file municipal charges in the matter. Any guess as to how likely that might be?

Look below to see two 9News videos on the subject -- the statement by Celeste's attorney and the clip about the conclusion of the 18th Judicial District DA's office.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Suzanne Williams: No indictment, 3 tickets in crash that killed pregnant Brianna Gomez."

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33 comments
justinhan
justinhan

It's been really great going through your blog post, very well informed and described. Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff. 

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justinhan
justinhan

It's been really great going through your blog post, very well informed and described. Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff. 

bail bonds los angeles county  

Pudding
Pudding

Get a ticket, pay the fine, learn the lesson, end of story.

Kurtriggin
Kurtriggin

Here is another case of the corp. that is found in D&B as a for profit corp. that corp. name is the DENVER District Court and the job of it's workers is to cover each others asses, job done. Thank you Robert for doing what you do and helping our court's and judge's stay on their toes, if that is whining we could all stand to do some more. Stay the thorn in their ass that you are!

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

It's like Kabul here in Denver, CO…a lot of local pandering/corruption in the news. Out with Mary Celeste!  No one is above the law!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

One more thing about Celeste:  as she anonymously harassed me for having the temerity of addressing the receptionist in the office of the Chief Judge about matters supposed to be her responsibility, I could see her mind calculating how she could get me -- she repeatedly asked me which courtroom I had come from, apparently hoping she could order me taken back and have me found in contempt, and she was visibly disappointed when she realized she had no pretext to have me arrested.  Based on her ugly and vindictive behavior that day, I believe that Ms. Celeste is not fit to be a judge.

Pudding
Pudding

You had your chance to campaign against her in the last election when the Judicial Performance Commission gave her a rare "no opinion" on retention.  Apparently you didn't feel strongly enough to set about removing her from the bench.

Multiple postings + single personal anecdote + inaction when it matters = whining. 

I'm with Shut it, Bobby on this one.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Let me get this straight -- because I failed single-handedly to mount a campaign to oust her, I am a whiner?  I related my anecdote before the election, and someone (you?) pointed out that the lack of enthusiasm of the Judicial Performance Commission for her.  I did urge people to vote her out -- she was reelected with 62% of the vote.  This is not about politics, but a clear violation of the Law by someone who presumes to sit in judgment

There is something terribly wrong with you two if your reaction to this post and my responses is to try to take me to task!  A County Court Judge just committed child abuse, the Arapahoe District Attorney committed malfeasance by failing to uphold State law in the face of a clear violation of it, and justice now depends on the Denver City Attorney charging her under the Municipal Code (Sec. 34-46. - Other wrongs to minors. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly, intentionally or negligently and without justifiable excuse, to cause: (1) The life of a minor to be endangered; (2) The health or physical well-being of a minor to be injured or endangered; ...).  I am trying to determine whether Celeste has tried such cases or is trying them now -- I suspect that she is.  You know about the Judicial Performace Commission's opinion of Celeste but you have apparently have no capacity for outrage at official hypocrisy, abuse of power, and outright criminality -- not a single word out of you condemning Celeste's behavior or her exemption from the criminal laws of this State; you must be one of Denver's lawyers!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

 P.S. I'll take your point about judicial retention -- I do have a number of other causes which engage my time and attention, but, again, your trying to place onus on me is grossly inappropriate -- do you condemn Celeste's behavior or not?  Do you endorse the Arapahoe District Attorney's decision, or not?  Do you think that Celeste should be held to account, or not? 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Locking a child in a hot car while you shop is not a political act, but a criminal one.

How can you possibly be writing about voting in the context of this story?!?

The question before us is whether County Court Judges are subject to the Law, or not.  Apparently you are unfazed by Chambers' declaration that Celeste is exempt from it.

Pudding
Pudding

Everyone is wrong but you.

A 13% vote swing is easily accomplished with a little handbill campaigning when it comes to judicial retention votes.  You failed because you'd rather whine on blogs than do something about it.  Live with it.

Rockymountains4life
Rockymountains4life

That is b.s back in 2000 i stopped at safeway to grab some steaks to cook out with.I left my dog in the car it was a 45 degrees out crack the window and was out of the store in 20 min.I walk up to the car and my dog was gone i find a animal control officer on the complete other side of the stores parking lot with my dog.She says that it is illegal to leave a animal or a child in the car by them selves even for a minute took my dog to the pound and charged my with animal cruelty,not having my dog neuterd and having a pitbull in the city even though i lived in elbert county at that time and i was just passing through denver.Well went to court have a animal crulety charge and having a pitbull in denver on my record.The animal crulety charge is funny because i rescued that dog from a fighter that made his living fighting those poor dogs and here i am with a amimaly crulety charge on my record for leaving my dog in my car on a 45 degree day and this lady gets nothing for leaving a child in the car funny how our judical system works.What a frickin joke.Oh by the way my pitbull lived a long life 12yrs.Miss ya bud

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

While you may not have endangered your dog, you were violating the ordinance.  Here, we're talking not about a dog, but a child.  What if Celeste had decided to shoplift some items and been caught, or simply keeled over due to heatstroke (or intoxication, or a medical problem)?  It is easy to imagine circumstances in which Celeste might not have been able to return quickly to her vehicle, or even to communicate that she had left a child in it to someone who could rescue her -- had such circumstances prevailed, Celeste's granddaughter might well now be dead (and sweeping the problem under the rug, much harder).

Rockymountains4life
Rockymountains4life

I was making a point that i received a sentence by the court for my f n dog and this lady doesn't even get a ticket for leaving a child in the car.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I understand that, and I should have noted the inconsistency myself in response -- you are absolutely right!

Gregorio
Gregorio

Jesus, Bobbles, you really can't resist arguing and correcting everyone who crosses your path!  I'm almost certain you have no friends.  Is that why you spend so much time on these blogs insulting people?  

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Really, Greggy, do you find something insulting in my response to Rockymountains4life?  If so, what was it?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Of course; a special exception should be made for this child abuser because she is a judge who presumes to mete out punishment to people who violate the Law -- just how dumb is Denver?

Celeste is the judge who, when I had the temerity to complain about Denver's kangaroo traffic court (which I had just seen convict two people who were not who the judge thought they were) under her supervision to the secretary in the chief judge's office, came barelling out of another room, and without so much as identifying herself proceeded to cross-question me and order me removed from City Hall

Hdeanreinick2
Hdeanreinick2

   How I love the media. They report stories with information that is false or one sided without the true data or partial  facts, plus most of the time leaving the other facts out of the report.  I personally Know Your Honor Mary Celeste.Your Honor Mary Celeste is not only a mentor but a very kind and thought full person, I am sure her first thought was for the safety of  Your Honors Grandchild.  Any Grandmother would understand, that's all my Mother talks about is the Grand children.  I am not a father, but from my view point the child was safe.The accusations made, obliviously came from a non supporter. I cant believe the audacity of some people shame on you. Obviously someone was just looking for anything they could do to twist a situation to make Your Honor Mary Celeste  look bad.  Respectfully, Harold Dean Reinick II

Shut it, Bobby.
Shut it, Bobby.

Well, were you being an annoying douchebag?  If you were (and judging from your many incoherent rants, I'm guessing the answer is yes), then I would have had you removed, too!  Seeing as how you have an astonishing propensity for calling Denver's people "dumb" and "idiots" and generally whining and complaining about everything under the sun, perhaps you should consider moving someplace where your kind of over-the-top negative douchebaggery is accepted and even encouraged.  I hear L.A. is nice this time of year...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You see, morons like you who accept authority meekly, allow abuses of power and incompetence to go unchecked, and instead attack those trying to make a change for the better make up most of Denver's population -- so much for the pretense that Denver is progressive!

I'm sorry that you are having trouble understanding what I write -- you have a lot of company; probably most DPS graduates are in the same boat.

I don't quite understand how you managed to get so far off-topic; the post and my reply were about a scofflaw Denver judge who is about to skate entirely for locking a child in a closed car on a 90+ degree day.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You may have succeeded in turning attention away from Celeste's crime.  I admit to being annoyed that upon relating a personal experience of Celeste behaving inappropriately as the Chief Judge of this County when confronted with shockingly bungled courtroom procedure, you chose to fabricate an alternative story involving some failure on my part.

I had been in traffic court (parking cases are not handled there) the day before, where I witnessed two defendants tried and sentenced on minor charges by a magistrate who thought they were someone else -- the mistakes were caught (one by one), but if you do not see anything wrong with conducting trials based on mistaken identity, you may have much in common with the imbeciles running the criminal injustice system here, who are being sued by the ACLU for numerous instances of false arrest and imprisonment, including the case of a man arrested repeatedly on a bad warrant and held (in one instance) for over a month.  The ad hoc procedures and lackadaisical attitude of local officials reflect very poorly on Denver, and it is costing taxpayers more and more money in settlements with those wrongfully arrested and abused, not to mention waste.  The problem pervades City government.

The day after this snafu, I stepped through the open door of the suite of offices belonging to the Chief Judge.  A secretary/receptionist sat in the foyer, and I started to relate what I had witnessed in court the day before.  As I was speaking to the receptionist, a peremptory voice came shouting through an open door inside the suite:  "Don't take verbal complaints!" -- the receptionist blanched with fear, and the rudeness of the delivery of this instruction overcame me -- I addressed the disembodied voice:  "Don't interrupt me", or something to that effect.  This succeeded in producing the shouter, who I later discovered to be Ms. Celeste (I had to ask her three times in succession and repeatedly identify myself before she deigned to tell me who she was).  I don't know what barn Ms. Celeste was raised in, but her demeanor that day was totally unjudicial and grossly inappropriate.  I failed to follow through with the complaint I planned to lodge against her -- I presume she continues to terrorize both employees and citizens alike unchecked.

The issue at hand is whether County Judges are subject to the same laws as the rest of us; the 18th Judicial District opines that they are not, and there is no reason to hope for better from those in charge of subverting justice in Denver.  There is a lot of negativity in my posts, but instead of trying to kill the messenger, consider the import of what I have related, because I am telling the truth.

If Celeste is not held to account, the People of Denver should shut down the County Court until she is.  Will this woman soon be passing sentence for child abuse again on people who leave their children locked in hot cars?  Denver's leaders do not deserve most of the respect all its Good Germans heedlessly accord them.

Shut it, Bobby.
Shut it, Bobby.

You know what, it's not even a challenge to poke holes in everything you say anymore.  I'm bored.  If you want the last word, Bobbie, you're welcome to it.  

Shut it, Bobby.
Shut it, Bobby.

No, I didn't.  Swing-and-a-miss, Bobbie.  Was that the whiny bitch version of "I know you are, but what am I?"  I must say that I expected more from you.  It's sad to witness someone reach the limits of their creativity.  Robbie, I really pity you.  You are so full of anger that you accost city officials to the point where you are removed from the building, all because you got a parking ticket... tsk tsk.  Someone who claims to be trying to "make a change for the better," should know how to approach an authority figure and present their case in an intelligent, peaceful manner.  Is it too much to ask to control your emotions to achieve your own ends?  I know 3rd graders who have already surpassed your maturity level.   Truly, Bobbie, you have some growing up to do.  I must admit that I stooped to your level in calling you a whiny bitch, but I felt it was necessary for you to realize how you come across to other people.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

No, but didn't you admit to raping your dog last week?

Gregorio
Gregorio

Now, Robbie, what have you been told about being nice to others, seeking therapy, and calling people naughty names?  By the way, you must have forgotten what you wrote in your own, again, incoherent rant.  Did you not say that you got bounced from the judge's office for being a whiny bitch?

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