Court upholds conviction of former teacher

The Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected an appeal from a convicted former Mesa County school teacher, saying a local judge had no reason to remove himself from a criminal case involving the teacher.

Tammie Lee Reed, 45, had argued through a Denver appellate attorney that District Judge Brian Flynn should have disqualified himself from trying a case in which one of the judge’s colleagues, Thomas Deister, was a named victim.

Reed was arrested in 2007 on counts of attempting to influence a public servant and violating bail bond conditions after authorities said she lied to Deister during a sentencing hearing in an unrelated case. Reed had received permission from Deister to travel to Nevada for her daughter’s wedding, but authorities later found there were no wedding plans.

She was convicted at trial and sentenced to serve four years in Mesa County Community Corrections.

Reed’s appellate attorney suggested Flynn and Deister surely had a “special and unusual relationship,” because they are “judicial brethren” who work down the hall from each another, according to the Appeals Court ruling.

They argued that Flynn had an obvious conflict and that the case should have been tried by another judge outside of Mesa County, but Flynn disagreed.

A three-judge panel with the Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed that decision.

“Such suspicion, surmise, speculation, rationalization, conjecture or innuendo is an insufficient basis for disqualification,” the panel’s ruling said.


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