Prisoners released due to overcrowding

AURORA - Five convicted prisoners were released from a holding facility in Aurora on Monday, due to a lack of jail space to house them. A sixth prisoner will be released Thursday.

The City of Aurora tried to make alternate arrangements to hold them, according to a city spokesman.

City of Aurora information officer John Leavitt tells 9NEWS the half dozen convicts could not be housed beyond Monday.

Below is a list of the people released:

• James Adkins, 48, was released 71 days early. He was in prison for theft-related charges. James Adkins has a long and violent criminal history dating back to 1988. He's been arrested for assault and battery, child abuse, domestic violence, drugs, shoplifting, theft, and several DUI's. He's been arrested more than 2 dozen times by other police departments after failing to appear in court in a different jurisdiction. Most recently he pleaded guilty to illegally carrying a concealed weapon. He's resisted arrest multiple times and is a known "habitual traffic offender" who no longer has a driver's license.

• Norman Fred Adams, 51, was released 52 days early. He was convicted for disorderly conduct and trespassing charges. Adams started his criminal career in 1998 with a DUI. After that he was arrested for property damage, obstruction, domestic violence, disturbing the peace, trespassing, burglary, illegal use of credit cards, and making threats. After a stint in prison he was charged with parole violations eight separate times.

• Lance Leneir Cunningham, 26, will be released Thursday. He was convicted for disturbing the peace. Cunningham didn't start getting into trouble with the law until 2005, but has been arrested numerous times since for crimes such as disorderly conduct, obstructing police (three times) making a false report, resisting arrest, trespassing, shoplifting, five counts of assault and two DUI's. He's been in trouble multiple times for failing to appear in court and was once held in contempt of court.

• Joan Carol Harris, 58, was released 24 days early. She was convicted for keeping a "vicious animal." She has a criminal history dating back to 1991 that includes DUI, felony assault, menacing, unlawful keeping of pit bulls, keeping vicious animals and January of 2014 failed to appear in court on a charge of keeping a vicious animal.

• Chivas Popichak Modispacher, 32, was released 17 days early. He was convicted for making false statements. Popichak-Modispacher goes under 10 different names. He's been arrested for DUI four times since 1991, one of those times he tried to outrun police.He's also been arrested for assault, domestic violence, careless driving, drugs and possession of a weapon by a past felon.Most recently he was arrested on the University of Colorado medical campus for using abusive language and making threats.

• Jazmine Nanay Scott , 30, was released 143 days early. She was convicted of disorderly conduct and failure to obey. Scott's relationship with our judicial system started in 2002. Since then she has failed to appear in court 7 times, has been arrested for drugs 5 times, made a false report 3 times, attempted to escape from prison, racked up a parole violation, and most recently was arrested for resisting arrest in February.

"We are at an unfortunate crossroads. It's hard to understand any justifications for releasing convicted prisoners back into the community, yet here we are," Mayor Steve Hogan said. "We can only hope the gravity of the situation can persuade those elected to governing Adams County.

Aurora plans to release the names of the six people on Monday afternoon. A letter from city manager Skip Noe said that the group's criminal record includes more than 100 arrests for crimes including child abuse, burglary, and assault with a deadly weapon.

Read the letter:

This six prisoners, all of whom were convicted of the crimes in the Adams County portion of Aurora, were being held in Denver County Jail because Adams County has set a cap on how many prisoners Aurora can send to its facility.

However, Denver had a crowding problem and informed Aurora that it needed the space being occupied by the six Aurora criminals.

Aurora recently filed a lawsuit against Adams county over its inmate cap.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office released the following statement late Monday:

"The Adams County Sheriff's Office has a responsibility to keep all employees and inmates safe. Unfortunately, inadequate staffing has resulted in a substantial safety issue. The Sheriff's Office will not further jeopardize the safety of its personnel or inmates to accommodate low-level, non-violent, municipal ordinance offenders, with the exception of municipal offenders authorized within the 30 cap approved by the county resolution.

These six inmates were not in the custody of the Adams County Sheriff's Office for their current municipal ordinance violations. Regardless of what their criminal pasts might include, these six offenders are not serving sentences for serious or felonious crimes. These inmates that the city of Aurora has chosen to release were arrested in Aurora, charged in Aurora, and convicted in Aurora municipal courts. These offenders are the responsibility of the city of Aurora.

The city of Aurora is choosing not to house these particular inmates in their city jail, which they may, according to Colorado law. Nothing in Colorado law prevents the city of Aurora from working and complying with the regulatory standards to use their city detention facility on a full time basis. The city of Aurora is very capable of housing such inmates in their 220 bed detention facility, but they are choosing not to do so. As of 4:28 pm on March 3, 2014, the city of Aurora was housing 43 municipal offenders in their detention facility.

Considering pending litigation, our comments on this issue must be limited."

Oates called the sheriff's office assertion "disingenuous," saying that Aurora's facility is not up to the legal standards it needs to be to hold people for more than 72 hours.

According to the City of Aurora, a jail requires the following:

• Library

• Outside recreation facility

• Full kitchen for hot meals


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