A man cleared of assaulting police in December was found not guilty of violating criminal and civil restraining orders Thursday.
A jury of six found Shane French not guilty in Montezuma County Court, two days after he was sentenced for a different violation of the same civil restraining order.
Deputy District Attorney Matt Margeson said a video showing the French in front of a woman’s home on the street with a tire iron made it clear he had violated the restraining order.
However, defense attorney Richard Sims argued that the language in the protection order was not clear. He also argued it was not clear when the video depicting French in front of the protected party’s house was taken.
Cheryl Hershberger, who has a personal interest in the case, appeared shocked by the outcome.
She said more evidence could have been presented to help prove the case.
“The jurors were unable to convict on the evidence they were given,” she said.
On Tuesday, French received a 250-day sentence for violating a civil restraining order. Montezuma County Court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence allowed the 248 days he already served in jail to count toward his sentence.
She did not impose any probation because she said she did not feel he could be successful with that kind of supervision. But she told him he must continue to abide by the protection order.
“Without the benefit of probation, you must do that with the support of other people,” she said.
French, who has a long criminal history, was found not guilty of assaulting police officers in December 2014.
A jury cleared him of any wrongdoing in December under Colorado’s Make My Day law. Because officers entered French’s home illegally, he could not be convicted of resisting arrest.
French’s family may pursue a civil suit against the city for the way this arrest was handled, including a claim of excessive force.
In a Jan. 12 letter, Denver attorney Kathyrn Stimson wrote that the French family would take legal action if necessary, and included a complaint and jury demand.