DA to sift 400 cases in probe of ex-trooper
Nearly 400 cases dating back to 2008 in Mesa County will be re-examined in the face of credibility concerns surrounding a former Colorado State Patrol trooper, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said.
Hautzinger’s assessment came after the District Attorney’s Office recently was provided a list of cases involving former trooper Donald Moseman over the past three years, which covers Moseman’s most recent stint working in Mesa County.
Hautzinger said the task of assessing old Moseman cases could take months, adding he may have to hire temporary employees or law school interns to assist with the job.
“My existing staff is already swamped,” he said.
At the DA’s request, the State Patrol compiled a list of all cases in which Moseman was the primary investigating officer or a significant witness. Hautzinger said a cursory review of the list showed everything from speeding infractions to alcohol- or drug-impaired driving arrests, in addition to at least two felony cases involving vehicular eluding and motor vehicle theft. The list was not released.
It does not include the 12 pending criminal cases, mostly DUI arrests in 2011 in which Moseman was the sole witness, that already have been dismissed by Hautzinger’s office over the past three weeks.
Reports were suspect
Moseman’s work became the focus of an internal investigation by the State Patrol after the District Attorney’s Office in October pointed out inconsistencies in Moseman’s case reports.
The State Patrol investigation found Moseman displayed a bias against drivers “who may have consumed alcohol or drugs prior to driving,” State Patrol Maj. Barry Bratt wrote in a letter to Hautzinger dated Dec. 5.
The letter said Moseman has submitted reports that combined information from prior arrests and the new criminal allegations, “resulting in reports which contained wrong or conflicting information.”
Hautzinger and State Patrol leadership have declined to elaborate.
One motorist’s account
While the substance of Moseman’s alleged improper actions have not been explained by authorities, The Daily Sentinel on Dec. 9 highlighted Moseman’s arrest of Palisade business owner James Fletcher, which was investigated internally by the State Patrol. It also resulted in a letter of apology from the State Patrol to Fletcher.
Moseman on June 25 cited Fletcher for suspicion of driving while ability impaired by marijuana and speeding, but prosecutors later dropped the matter when the results of a blood test showed no trace of alcohol or marijuana. Fletcher and his wife were driving home from a day at County Jam USA when they were pulled over.
Moseman wrote in a report that Fletcher had “failed” roadside sobriety tests — a charge adamantly denied by Fletcher. The same report also said Fletcher recorded .000 in a portable breath test designed to measure intoxication.
Moseman told Fletcher he appeared impaired by marijuana and the trooper asked him to submit to a blood test, insisting that failure to comply would “cost you a lot of money,” according to Fletcher’s account.
Moseman was no longer employed by the State Patrol as of Dec. 1.
The issues surrounding Moseman’s work may date back to 1998, Hautzinger has said.
Hired by the State Patrol in 1991, Moseman was assigned to the Fruita office between 1995 and 2003, according to Bratt. The State Patrol has said Moseman left the agency in 2007 for a job outside law enforcement, before he was hired again in 2008 and reassigned to the Fruita office.