A Durango public defender recently slipped on an icy patch, breaking her ankle and forcing the court to delay justice again.
As a result of the accident, an elderly man agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial on charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor theft as a habitual criminal. The trial had been delayed twice before.
After filing an urgent request to continue the trial last month, chief public defender Justin Bogan explained that the lead defense attorney handling the case had two surgeries after her fall and was physically unable to attend trial, which was set to start this week.
District Court Judge Todd Plewe said he was concerned for the defendant, James Taylor, 65, of Cortez, citing he could be forced to remain in custody while waiting a new trial date, which was set for Feb. 1. Plewe further advised Taylor that the trial could be bumped again due to scheduling conflicts.
Assistant District Attorney Sean Murray opposed the trial continuance, stating that law enforcement witnesses might forget significant details relating to the case. The second scheduled trial in October was postponed at the request of prosecutors.
An initial trial, set for February, was also postponed due to a defense request.
Court records reveal the alleged offenses against Taylor occurred sometime between September and November of last year. Taylor was arrested in the pending case on Nov. 24, 2014.
After posting an initial $15,000 bond, Taylor has been charged twice for allegedly violating bond conditions. He has remained in custody for failure to comply since re-arrested on Oct. 29.
According to court officials, more than 25 witnesses have been endorsed to provide testimony at trial, including two suspected criminals. If the trial had proceeded this week, court records reveal that prosecutors intended to call a man that was arrested last fall on burglary, theft, drug, weapon and tampering with evidence charges as well as a man convicted this past spring on a drug possession charge.
In a separate case, Taylor was arrested in 2013 and charged in connection to a domestic violence incident. Police alleged that Taylor hit a woman in the head with a baseball bat.
According to prosecutor’s, Taylor’s previous criminal convictions, including felony theft and drug distribution, date back to 1969.