Frank Ruybalid, Trinidad District Attorney, Cops a Plea, Admits Misconduct

Categories: Crime, Politics

A photo of Frank Ruybalid from KOAA-TV coverage.
These are not the best of times for the criminal justice system in Trinidad. The city and two of its police detectives are being sued by the ACLU of Colorado, which claims the detectives fabricated and misrepresented evidence in a 2013 drug investigation that led to the arrests of forty people -- a misbegotten operation involving fake drugs and unreliable informants that resulted in all forty cases being dismissed, as detailed in my November feature "The Snitch Who Stole Christmas." And now Third Judicial District Attorney Frank Ruybalid has settled a state ethics investigation of his office by admitting that he mishandled several other prosecutions that ended up being dismissed -- cases ranging from theft and drugs to sexual assault and second-degree murder.

See also: ACLU Sues Trinidad, Cops for False Arrests in Drug-Sting Fiasco

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Should Colorado Build a Bike Trail From Wyoming to New Mexico?

Categories: News, Politics

Photos and more below.
Governor John Hickenlooper has long been a cycling proponent. Now, he's calling for the construction of a bike trail that would allow riders to cross the state from Wyoming to New Mexico -- and a new bill backed by a Republican state senator may offer a way to make it happen.

See also: Bike to Work Day Photos: John Hickenlooper, Michael Hancock...and You!

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Sexy Pizza's Kayvan Khalatbari on Why He's Running for Denver City Council

Photo by Anthony Camera
Kayvan Khalatbari.
Kayvan Khalatbari has his hands in many projects. His restaurant chain, Sexy Pizza, now has three locations in Denver, and he co-owns Denver Relief, one of the oldest pot stores in the city. Add in Sexpot Comedy (his live-comedy promotion gig), multiple charity efforts and a national cannabis consulting firm and Khalatbari, 31, has one colorful LinkedIn account. And if he wins an at-large seat on Denver's city council this May, his list of job titles will get even longer.

See also: Meet Three Ganjapreneurs in the Brave New World of Weed

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Marijuana: Adams County Holds Pot-License Lottery, Wheat Ridge OKs Regs, Pueblo Delays

Chronic Therapy's Facebook Page
Chronic Therapy is one of five dispensaries in Wheat Ridge, and it won't have new competition anytime soon after the City Council's vote last night.
The city councils of Wheat Ridge and Pueblo held meetings last night to determine the fate of proposed cannabis restrictions in their respective cities, but only one of them ended with a resolution. Meanwhile, Adams County is scheduled an afternoon announcement for the first ten dispensaries to be licensed there.

See also: Obama Predicts More States Will Try Colorado's Pot Experiment

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Marijuana: Obama Predicts More States Will Try Colorado's Pot Experiment
White House YouTube channel
President Obama and Hank Green. More images and a video below.
In recent weeks, an aide for the Obama administration said the president plans to do nothing new about marijuana policy during his final two years in office -- a stance that frustrated a national cannabis advocate, the Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell. But Angell is pleased by Obama's prediction, included in a YouTube interview on view below, that more states will begin to follow Colorado's marijuana-legalization experiment.

See also: Marijuana Advocate Decries Obama's Plan to Do "Nothing" About Pot Policy in Final Two Years

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Marijuana: Bill Calls For Grants to Colorado Counties to Offset Legal Pot Impact
Baca County Sheriff's Office Facebook page
The members of the Baca County Sheriff's Office. Additional photos and more below.
Last month, the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a complaint asking the U.S. Supreme Court to void Colorado's marijuana laws because of the negative impacts legal pot was having across the border.

Colorado Representative Tim Dore's new bill doesn't go quite that far. But the proposal, on view below, does call for a new grant program that would provide funding for Colorado counties -- including those, like the ones in Dore's district, that have banned retail marijuana sales -- to offset additional law enforcement expenditures and other costs associated with cannabis.

See also: Nebraska and Oklahoma to Coloradans Who Voted for Amendment 64: Go to Hell

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A Culture of Deception at the VA?

Categories: Politics
Photo by Anthony Camera
The Aurora Veteran Affairs outpatient clinic.
Our January 15 cover story, "Tell No One," delved into an evolving sexual harassment quagmire at an Aurora outpatient clinic operated by the Department of Veteran Affairs; several female health care workers who complained of inappropriate conduct by a male nurse say they've suffered retaliation from administrators, including punitive job assignments and "interrogations" in which they've been pressured to change their stories. Months after the alleged perp resigned, the VA's investigation of the matter drags on -- and seems to be directed at silencing the victims.

But that clinic is hardly the only problem spot amid the VA's sprawling, $150-billion empire of hospitals, service centers, outreach programs and other operations mandated to provide health care and other benefits to our nation's military veterans. Call it one symptom of a much larger mess.

See also: Women Claim Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Cover-up at the Colorado VA

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Oil & Gas Industry: $11.79M Spent on Statewide Offices in 2014 Campaign -- and That's Not All

Colorado Ethics Watch
The industry upped its stake in Colorado elections to a slick $11.8 million in 2014.
The oil and gas industry raised a massive war chest last year in anticipation of a showdown over anti-fracking ballot initiatives that failed to materialize -- and then spent freely on advertising, contributions to PACs and candidate committees, as well as general promotion of the industry's issues and causes across a wide spectrum of Colorado state races, according to a new report by Colorado Ethics Watch.

How significant is the industry's investment in fracking in Colorado? CEW's analysis pegs the overall oil-and-gas spending on statewide offices in 2014 at $11.79 million, compared to around $400,000 in each of the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. The figures don't include United States Senate or congressional elections.

See also: How Colorado became ground zero in America's energy wars

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Marijuana: Will Candidates' Positions on Pot Be Big 2016 Presidential Campaign Issue?
Photo by Jake Shane
Hillary Clinton during a June 2014 appearance in Denver.
The Brookings Institution's John Hudak, who last year released a report declaring the first phase of Colorado's legal pot rollout to be a success, has shared eight things to watch in regard to national marijuana policy in 2015. Among the most intriguing is the matter of presidential candidates having to declare their pot positions -- and Hudak notes that predicting who's for or against reform based on party affiliation doesn't always work.

See also: Marijuana: Colorado's Legal Pot Sales Rollout Is Succeeding, New Report Says, published August 1, 2014

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Seven Ways to Commemorate Martin Luther King Day

Photo by Kyle Huninghake
Last year's Marade
With less than a week until Martin Luther King Jr. Day, activists, arts organizations and politicians are all gearing up for a series of events to mark the holiday, which will be followed by continuing discussions of racism. (Mayor Hancock's office promises that the schedule for those discussions will be released soon.)

See also: Zackary Moffitt Died From Jail Heart Attack After Needs Ignored for Days, Suit Claims

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