Exonerated Grand Junction cop seeking return to law enforcement
Acquittal means his domestic case ‘never happened,' judge tells him
A former Grand Junction Police Department officer who was acquitted on a domestic violence charge told a judge Friday he aims to get another job in law enforcement.
Toward that, Chief Judge David Bottger granted a request to seal a public court file in the case of 24-year-old Courtney Crooks.
“The effect of this order is this case never happened,” Bottger said, earlier telling Crooks: “This is not something you should have to worry about. You’re not guilty.”
The District Attorney’s Office offered no objection to Crooks’ request to seal the case. No prosecutors were in attendance for Friday’s brief hearing.
Bottger noted anybody found not guilty in a criminal matter has a right to petition a judge to have the case essentially removed from potential public consumption, saying the continued public status of Crooks’ case file would pose more potential harm than good.
“The legitimate public interest in maintaining these records is not very large,” the judge said.
Crooks on Friday told the judge he was hired in March by a local oil-field-support-services firm, and his case wasn’t raised during the hiring process.
“It’s my heart’s desire to enter law enforcement,” Crooks said, adding after the hearing he’s unsure whether he’ll apply to a Western Slope law enforcement agency.
With Friday’s order, Bottger said Crooks would act truthfully in the eyes of the law if he didn’t disclose his domestic violence arrest to future employers.
The sealed status of the case file also means the matter wouldn’t be flagged in a routine background check, the judge said.
A jury on Feb. 25 returned a not-guilty verdict on a misdemeanor harassment charge against Crooks related to an incident Aug. 18, 2009, involving Crooks’ wife. He resigned from the Grand Junction Police Department the next month.