BRIGHTON, Colo. — A district court judge ruled Wednesday that Westminster Police detectives may seize a firearm from a suspect deemed to be a threat to others, the first time an Adams County judge has ruled on Colorado’s two-month-old red flag law.
“The petition adequately alleges a recent and credible threat of violence by the respondent against others, more than one person and certainly it is a very violent act that has been threatened,” Seventeenth Judicial District Judge Edward Moss said as he ruled in favor of the temporary emergency risk protection order.
Moss ordered a seal on the details of the case during the hearing, but before the afternoon hearing, a spokeswoman for Westminster Police told 9NEWS the subject of the ERPO was suspected of retaliation against a prosecutor, attempt to influence a public servant and harassment by phone or computer. Neither police, nor the court have released the suspect’s name.
“The firearm has been seen in the respondent’s possession,” Moss said from the bench. “The firearm has been used in a threatening manner with other persons.”
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Moss granted 9NEWS’ request for expanded media coverage of the hearing, allowing a camera inside the courtroom, a first for an ERPO hearing since the law kicked in in January. The judge ordered the 9NEWS camera could not record video of the three Westminster detectives in the courtroom.
Inside the brief hearing, only police detectives appeared on the petitioner’s side. Neither the respondent nor an attorney for the respondent were present.
Also there were a handful of judges, there to witness a first-of-its-kind trial in the county.
Investigators presented the judge with an affidavit explaining the threat and a search warrant identifying the firearm and its location. Moss also indicated the respondent was also found to be in possession of other firearms that belonged to another person ineligible to have them under Colorado law.
“The burden of proof in this case is by a preponderance of the evidence and the court does find that the required findings have been proven by the preponderance of the evidence,” Moss said.
With the petition granted, Westminster Police can seize the weapon on a temporary basis. Moss set a hearing for March 11, where the respondent can argue against a more permanent order that could last up to a year.
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