DENVER — Colorado's best-known prosecutor said he judge who downgraded charges against a driver who’s accused of hitting and killing a state trooper in 2016 was “wrong” to do so.
“We have respect for the judge in this case, but we believe that she got it wrong,” said District Attorney George Brauchler on Tuesday.
Judge Shay Whitaker announced sanctions for prosecutors last week, following what she called “a pattern of discovery violations.” The case twice resulted in mistrials because of information that came out in court, but had not previously been disclosed to the defense. The most recent mistrial was declared in February.
The judge decided to throw out the only felony charge against Noe Gamez-Ruiz as a penalty against Brauchler’s office for mishandling the case.
Brauchler appealed Whitaker’s decision Tuesday and has asked for the decision to be overturned.
If the judge’s decision stands, Gamez-Ruiz will continue to face charges of careless driving while passing an emergency vehicle resulting in death or serious bodily harm and careless driving.
Gamez-Ruiz is accused of hitting Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue, who was standing on the shoulder of the interstate near Castle Rock when he was hit. He was working a separate crash at the time he was hit.
More from Next with Kyle Clark: