• Judges Jolene Blair and Terence Gilmore were the Prosecutors in the wrongful conviction of Timothy Masters for First Degree Murder resulting in a life sentence of which he served 10 years.
• JUDGES BLAIRE AND GILMORE ARE STANDING FOR RETENTION IN THE NOVEMBER, 2010 ELECTION. YOU HAVE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE THEM OUT!
• Judges Blair and Gilmore have cost Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins $10 million in settlements of the lawsuits brought by Tim Masters for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
• Judges Blair and Gilmore were officially censured by Colorado Supreme Court for “NEGLIGENCE” and for “CONDUCT WHICH DIRECTLY IMPAIRED THE OPERATION OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM” in the Master's case.
• Judges Blair and Gilmore have Refused to accept responsibility or apologize to Tim Masters for their Misconduct.
• Judges Blair and Gilmore committed civil rights violations AS JUDGES which triggered an investigation by United states Department of Justice.
• Judges Blair and Gilmore have an extensive record of JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT and continue this pattern.
• Frequently Asked Questions •
Terence Gilmore and Jolene Blair were the deputy district attorneys from the 8th. Judicial District in Colorado who prosecuted the case against Timothy Masters, leading to his wrongful conviction and prison sentence, of which he served nearly 10 years. Blair and Gilmore were subsequently appointed to positions as District Judges for the 8th. Judicial District and are now standing for retention for an additional term in the November, 2010 general election in Larimer and Jackson Counties, Colorado."In 2010, Larimer County reached a settlement in which Masters was paid $4.1 million for the misconduct of Blair and Gilmore in his prosecution. Soon thereafter, the City of Fort Collins agreed to a similar settlement in which Masters was paid $5.9 million.". Blair and Gilmore have also been widely criticized for misconduct as judges as well as for their misconduct in the Masters case.
Timothy Masters (born June 25, 1971) was charged and convicted in 1999 for the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole and served nearly 10 years of this sentence. A special prosecutor found in 2008 that the original prosecution of Masters was based largely on a putative FBI profile, fabricated by a Fort Collins Police detective, and that there was no actual evidence that could link Masters to the case. The conviction was vacated in January, 2008 and Masters was released after serving nearly 10 years in prison. In 2010, Masters was awarded $10 million in civil lawsuits against Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Jim Broderick is the Fort Collins police detective who fabricated the putative FBI profile of Masters and lied under oath both in the original prosecution of the case and in the subsequent investigation. The City of Fort Collins reached a settlement in which Masters was paid $5.9 million for the misconduct of Broderick. Larimer County paid Masters an additional $4.1 million. Broderick is currently under indictment for his actions in the Masters case and faces up to 42 years in prison for 7 counts of felony perjury.
District Judges Jolene Blair and Terence Gilmore had a direct role in the wrongful conviction of Tim Masters for the murder of Peggy Hettrick in 1987 and the life sentence of which he served nearly 10 years. Blair and Gilmore were officially censured by the Colorado Supreme Court for this misconduct.
The censures for both Blair and Gilmore state that their “conduct directly impaired the proper operation of the criminal justice system in the trial of Timothy Masters for murder.” They also state that Blair and Gilmore violated rules of criminal procedure and that their failure to follow proper procedure was negligent. Blair and Gilmore themselves personally acknowledged these censures in their entirety in a legal stipulation. The censures and stipulations are linked below in the section titled “Disciplinary Stipulations”.
The censures are based on the failure of Blair and Gilmore to release to the defense thousands of pages of information in violation Rule 16 of Criminal Procedure, including:
- Failure to release information on the negative outcome of an attempt to entrap Tim Masters through a project the police called “enhanced surveillance”.
- Failure to release comments from the FBI and from experts retained by the Fort Collins Police which expressed skepticism of the police investigation and of the case against Masters.
- Failure to release the conclusions of one of the retained experts, a local plastic surgeon, who stated that the murder and mutilation of Hettrick’s body had to have been performed by a right handed person with surgical skills --- not by a left handed 15 year old schoolboy.
- The prosecution also failed to disclose the case of Richard Hammond, a surgeon and known criminal sexual deviant who lived across the street from the crime scene and has been acknowledged by those who knew about him to have been a far more viable suspect than Tim Masters. (The Hammond case was not included in the censures.)
- Blair and Gilmore presented at trial material fabricated by Broderick that they and Broderick represented as an FBI profile of Hettrick’s killer.
- The Masters case is not unique. One respondent wrote of Blair: “Almost the same thing happened to me as Masters. I served 15 years because of her, and (former Judge) John David Sullivan.”
- Blair and Gilmore have an extensive record of unethical and prejudicial treatment of suspects.
Here are reports given at the hearing held by the Commission on Judicial Performance.
- Darin Barrett of Loveland said he appeared in Gilmore’s courtroom repeatedly during a lengthy child-custody case. “My entire family was treated like we were the scum of the Earth by Judge Gilmore,” Barrett said. “He actually yelled at me in the courtroom.” Barrett later wrote: “In this case, there were documented allegations of sexual abuse. Judge Gilmore would not even hear it. Never addressed it. Disregarded it completely.”
- Al Reaud of Fort Collins described a case over which Judge Blair presided, in which he filed an appeal from jail, together with a request for court appointed appellate counsel, in August, 2006. The filing consisted of about 12 documents. Of these, all but one went missing. The missing documents were recovered only after Reaud sent a letter to Blair and then Chief Judge Hiatt threatening federal action. The request for appellate counsel was completely ignored.
- Leigh Winfield of Fort Collins, who is blind, described a case in which prosecutors failed to provide him with material in Braille or other accessible format. Gilmore, the judge in the case, allowed this despite complaints from the defense. The incident is public record and complaints against Gilmore have been filed with the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice in connection with these civil rights violations.
- In separate case, Judge Blair similarly allowed prosecutors to proceed against another blind defendant without providing information accessible to the blind.
- In a notorious case, Dr. Donald Fisch, a former psychologist who had contracted with Community Corrections and the detention center was convicted of molesting 3 of his developmentally disabled clients and given an exceptionally light sentence, and even a 5 day furlough by Judge Gilmore.
- In the Heidi Fruhling case, Judge Gilmore denied defendant, Fruhling’s request for replacement of a defense attorney who refused to defend her.
- In the Craig Lindberg case, Judge Blair admitted false and conflicting (inconsistent) testimony in a major civil lawsuit and refused to allow the plaintiff to challenge that testimony.
As judges, Blair and Gilmore have shown no remorse for their actions in the Masters case, but have instead continued a pattern of misconduct which started prior to the Masters trial during their tenure as prosecutors and has continued through their current tenure as judges. In addition to the pain and suffering inflicted on Tim Masters and his family, Blair and Gilmore have cost our community over 10 million dollars in damages and legal expenses and have tarnished the reputations of Fort Collins and Larimer County.
Did the Commission on Judicial Performance respond to or consider the censures of Judges Blair and Gilmore as prosecutors in the Masters case?
Here is what the Commission had to say on this topic:
“The Commission is aware of the community’s concern surrounding the public censure of Judge Blair by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge on September 9, 2008, regarding her role as a prosecuting attorney in the Masters case prior to her appointment to the bench in 2001. The Commission believes this concern is relevant. This concern was discussed by the Commission and addressed directly with the judge. The Commission believes that, because Judge Blair’s judicial performance is outstanding, the community is well served by her continued presence on the bench.”
Did the Commission on Judicial Performance respond to any of the official complaints against the conduct of Judges Blair and Gilmore AS JUDGES?
Why did the Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommend retaining Blair and Gilmore?
- The rules on Judicial Performance evaluations require that no information be considered unless it concerns events that occurred during the present term of the judge. This automatically excludes from consideration all events related to the Masters case.
- The method of evaluation is purely statistical. For example, if one report of egregious conduct, no matter how extreme, is accompanied by 99 favorable reports, the result will be a finding of 99% favorable. In particular, anecdotal information such as that described in the previous section is considered only as part of a statistical sample. The commission is not obligated or even allowed to investigate or analyze any specific complaint.
- The commission is appointed by politicians, most of whom are lawyers. The people who are surveyed are selected by lawyers. The process is largely controlled by lawyers. (More detail on this is given below.) The result is that the perspective of lawyers, rather than that of typical citizens who are affected by the judicial system, determines the outcome.
Who serves on the Commission on Judicial Performance and how does it operate?
To balance the lawyer component with ordinary citizens, the composition of the panel is supposed to be four attorneys and six non-attorneys. However, sitting on the panel as non-attorneys were Dana Hiatt, wife of former Chief District Judge James Hiatt, and Bev Newton, widow of former District Judge Arnaud Newton. Additionally, Mac Danford, Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court for 19 years, from 1985 to 2004, an attorney who is not currently a member of the bar, serves on the panel as a non-attorney. The commission operates on strict rules which preclude any meaningful critique of judges.
More detail on this topic will be posted in this space in the near future.
What can you do to improve the situation?
Make an informed choice on Judges Blair and Gilmore this November and stay informed by visiting this website to see what else you can do, after the election, to hold judges and lawyers accountable.