Hector Paez mistrial: Attorney on late-arriving evidence in case of cop charged with sex assault

Thumbnail image for hector paez mug shot cropped.JPG
Hector Paez.
Last October, Denver cop Hector Paez was charged with forcing a woman to give him oral sex in order to avoid jail. But the case against him is now in mistrial due to questions involving evidence whose late arrival left Paez attorney Gary Lozow thunderstruck. "It was a little like Alice in Wonderland," Lozow says. "It was hide and seek."

Paez is accused of having arrested a 36-year-old woman (described in a preliminary hearing as a heroin user with a lengthy rap sheet) in May of 2010, then taking her to an isolated location and forcing her to perform oral sex on him in order to avoid winding up behind bars. Last fall, he was charged with second-degree kidnapping, sexual assault and an attempt to influence a public servant by lying about the incident during a subsequent Internal Affairs investigation.

Throughout the process, Paez has denied the allegations against him.

On Tuesday, following jury selection, the case was scheduled to begin. But early on, the Denver Police Department provided a piece of evidence previously unknown to Paez's defense team -- a recording of a phone call involving the victim. And that afternoon, a second phone recording of the victim surfaced.

gary lozow.jpg
Gary Lozow.
The next morning, the Paez team questioned Sergeant Kimalee Hull, the person charged with gathering the information in question, about why the recordings hadn't been provided when defense lawyers requested evidence against Paez last year. She said the recordings had wound up in a file she'd forgotten about, and to which other officers had no access -- and she didn't find them until the last minute. She also mentioned a third recording, made when the victim was in a police car, but she recalled it being badly garbled and guessed that she had simply deleted it.

At that point, Lozow asked that the case be dismissed and the prosecution be sanctioned. Denver District Judge Robert McGahey said "no" to these requests, but he did grant a mistrial, after which the jury was disbanded. Then, after members headed home, the prosecution revealed that it had found the third recording -- the one Hull thought she'd tossed out.

As a result of these bizarre turns, a new hearing has been set for later this month, during which the court can entertain more motions -- with one possibility being the argument that finding a new jury and putting Paez on trial again might constitute double jeopardy.

Lozow's take? "It's very unfortunate for Officer Paez to have to go through the stress and expense of preparing for a trial that was a year in the making -- to protest and be assertive in his innocence -- only to find out after a jury is picked that police officers involved in the investigation have not disclosed relevant material evidence in a timely fashion.

"This information was sought both through discovery and through subpoenas, and we didn't get it -- and that's how you're supposed to get it. And then, what's even more disconcerting is that we moved for a mistrial on the premise that a tape has been destroyed -- and everybody knows that's the reason, it's articulated in the record -- and after the jury is let go, they somehow find the tape. That's not how the system is supposed to go forward."

When asked about the impact of the situation on Paez, Lozow says, "It's been very stressful for him. Sometimes innocence takes a long time to spell out, but this was a very difficult thing to have happen when you think you're finally going to get a resolution on these charges."

More from our News archive: "Live blog: A first-degree murder verdict in the Angie Zapata trial, April 22."

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21 comments
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4488uhny
4488uhny

Paez is a bastard, I know him- plain and simple

Littlelegsz
Littlelegsz

You obviously dont know Paez, I'm sure your just one of the scum he has had to deal with on the street!!! Get a life- plain and simple !!!!

MDP
MDP

Orr maybe it was a coincidence that they found the evidence last minute to declare a mistrial ....now making his case eligible for double jepordy???

Ramart04
Ramart04

The police are not that smart.....

Littlelegsz
Littlelegsz

Do you as tax payers realize that this so called "victim" is a known prostitute who does tricks off alameda and broadway. Also, the denver police have been financing her medical expenses and paying her extra on the side to stay on board with this fabricated investigation. Society thinks evidence was hidden to protect Officer Paez but what you do not realize is the department, DADoug Jackson, Sgt. Jaime Lucero, Sgt. Hull have done everything in their power to hide the truth to whats really going on in this case because they were all hoping convicting one of their own would get them a promotion. I can not wait until karma bites them all in the butt because what these retards do not realize is someone, if not all, is going to have to take the heat for this UNJUST investigation. Also, dont be surprised if this prostitute turns her back on you because after all ....she is a "heroin using prostitute" and a piece of crap!!! Oh and by the way......the Denver police department did absolutely nothing to help or support Officer Paez and his family, they were just looking for someone to crucify but they have just crucified themselves!! Officer Paez has not deserved to go through any of this when all he has ever done is be an excellent officer for this piece of crap department.

Littlelegsz
Littlelegsz

And with that said........finally the truth is being reveiled.

oh no
oh no

Could be possible, the District Attorney, realized that the "victim" who could not id this man after the alleged incident....., or remember where this incident happened,...... or that no Dna was located......, or that the Officer noted on his log to contacting this person......, or that the DA paid her $ to testify......, or that she listed the officer as 6 foot tall but he is 5"7......, or that she admitted to using heroin in the am and then in the pm....., or that she has a history of prostitution......, or that she has two felonies......., or that Sgt Lucero and Sgt Hull lied on the arrest paperwork....... Yea......the da don't want her to spill the beans. One more thing what happens to a prosecutor when he conceals evidence and then lies to a judge? Will the judge do the right thing? Or let the crooked DA walk on?

Collinitzki
Collinitzki

The only thing that is without question about this case is that Sgt. Kimalee Hall should be fired for incompetence. 

Rachel H
Rachel H

So what happens now? A Denver Police Officer has not been working since October. Although he was never fired. This Officer was charged with Lying? But it was evident at the Trial not only was the lead investigator Sgt. Jamie Lucero lying, (about not knowing of evidence and his contact with the victim) but Sgt Hull conceals evidence  that could potentially help a fellow Officer and lies about misplacing it and her contact with the victim. But now just like other citizens I am wondering what is really going on? Who is really the victim? Who is really lying? Is this Officer being setup? Is the victim not really a victim and being paid to fabricate a story which is untrue? Why have so many other DPD Officers lied and never been charged with a felony? The DA in the case James Douglas Jackson, makes a mockery of the courtroom and denies any knowing of evidence to exhist, but Sgt Lucero stated "UNDER OATH" that he and the DA spoke of such evidence in JUNE? Now what about Paez, who is he really? what did he really do to piss off the Denver Police Department and The District Attorneys Office? This man was incarcerated for a week, in 23 hour confinement. Who knows. The judge denies all motions to excuse Sgt Lucero and Sgt Hull from testimony after they lied in his courtroom,and also denies a motion to edit the Officer Interview at Police Headquarters. While the District Attorney asked questions....hummm. The judge also denied the allowance of Jefferson County records about the victim to be disclosed? So is the judge Bias? Unfair or ignorant. I believe two sides of the story and somewhere in the middle lies the truth. What is it? Will the judge also deny a mistrial after the prosecution let the jury go. Or will he violate the Double Jeopardy rule and try this officer again. Now like others I believed Officer Paez was a lying pig rapist, but now seeing him in the court room respecting the court and enduring the BS, what is really going on? If he is guilty throw him in jail, but if he is not which it looks like more everyday, The DA, Sgt Lucero, Sgt Hull, Internal Affairs command Burbach and Whitman should be ashamed of themselfs.

Jamart04
Jamart04

After reading Rachel's comment It sounds like she is someone who has been following this case from the very beginning. "Thank you" Rachel H for the detail of your comment. I believe that there are still good police officers on the force, but if what you say is accurate then everyone that you name in your comment should be terminated from the DPD. Thats how it works in the real world! Secondly, there should be a public apology to Mr Paez and his family and like Todd said in his comment, "Denver better get their check book out"   

Littlelegsz
Littlelegsz

Thank you Rachel H, it could not have been said any better !!!

Ramart04
Ramart04

Thank you Westword for being impartial with this article...The DPD has baffled this investigation, this should have never gone to trial.  They do not stand by their officers, nor believe them.  It is shameful that they would believe the word of a heroin user with a lengthy rap sheet over one of their kind.  And, on top of that have internal investigators working within their departments that misplace evidence and conveniently find it once the jury has been dismissed.  No wonder why they are in the news constantly.  They take no pride in their own force or the work they perform.  Thank you Mr. Lozow for representing the interests of the general public and for keeping the DPD in check.

Todd
Todd

What the DPD lacks in evidence and credibility the prosecution is clearly making up for with incompetence.  Gotta love it when your police force rallies behind a drug addled prostitute instead of one of its dedicated officers that has done nothing but good for the city.  Denver better get their check book ready once this is all settled.   

Littlelegsz
Littlelegsz

Shame on DPD, District Attorney Doug Jackson, Sergeant Jaime Lucero and Sergeant Kimmalee Hull for gambling on the word of a 36 yr old, heroin addicted, troubled past (prostitute).  At least a little bit of light is finally being shed on the sloppy police work and unjust investigation of the last year and a half!!! 

Jamart04
Jamart04

Shame on the DPD, once again they have been deceitful and convicted on of their own before trial. They have made you all look like idiots."Thank God" that there are attoney's like Mr Lozow to keep the DPD in line.

cady115
cady115

oral sex is not safe sex. But how much of a risk are you actually taking if you choose to practice unprotected oral sex? The HSV-1 always caused by oral sex it increase the herpes ratio. the largest dating and support == HerpesSupport.net has more than 1,880,000 members and about 80% members are good looking in my estimation.

Unfortunately, STD rates soar worldwide and most people with STDs don't even know that they have them. The government should grant more money for STD education to lower the rates of STD transmission.

Lilyp
Lilyp

Paez is accused of having arrested a 36-year-old woman (described in a preliminary hearing as a heroin user with a lengthy rap sheet).  This woman and the DPD are fabricating every portion of this story.

Lily
Lily

Also does no one find it odd that two SENOIR POLICE OFFICERS "forgotor Misplaced eveidance" .  Evidance that could put this poor man in jail for the rest of his life.  It's also vry interesting that these two officers clearly lied on the stand and the judge did nothing!! Who are we protecting, where is the leagal system??

Lilylies2
Lilylies2

Good lord, where is your dictionary?  ("senior"..."evidence"..."legal") 

Funny that after a mistrial, no longer do we find it odd that Hector allegedly lied while being interviewed by the Internal Affairs Bureau about his contact with the woman.  Oh yeah, the charge of attempting to influence a public servant disappears too.  

justice by mistrial.   comedy. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

DPD is engaged in ongoing criminal malfeasance.

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