Distasteful law creates injustice

Law and justice rarely diverge, but they are not always one and the same. Consider the situation that occurred earlier this week with Michelle Coyne, the widow of former Grand Junction Police Officer Glenn Coyne.

Michelle Coyne sought the return of $20,000 in bail money paid by her late husband after he was arrested in October.

But District Judge Richard Gurley denied her request, saying that Colorado only allows bail bonds to be refunded if a judge approves changes to the terms or conditions of a bond within 10 days of someone being freed from jail on bail. That didn’t occur in the Coyne case.

The net result is that Michelle Coyne and her two children suffer yet again as a result of events over which they had no control.

It was no doubt terrible for them when Glenn Coyne was fired from the Grand Junction Police Department, then arrested for alleged first-degree burglary and sexual assault. Few can imagine the grief and turmoil they must have suffered when he was found dead in a hotel room in Golden six days later, having apparently committed suicide.

On top of that, Michelle is now unable to get a refund of thousands of dollars in bail bond money that she could use to help support herself and her children.

But don’t blame Gurley. As a judge, he is bound to follow the letter of the law.

“This is a situation where the law doesn’t taste very good,” Gurely said. “It is what it is.”

We can understand Gurley’s frustration. It is very distasteful when the law causes further injury to someone who has already suffered considerably.


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