Lawyers for 21st Judicial District Judge Lance Timbreza, who was cited by police on suspicion of drunk and careless driving on June 15, have asked to delay arraignment in his case and the presiding judge has agreed.
Timbreza was originally set to appear Monday to be arraigned in the case. But attorneys for Timbreza — he's represented by David Beller of Denver and local defense attorney Steve Laiche — filed a motion seeking a continuance in the case. Prosecutors did not object, and presiding and visiting Judge Jonathan Pototsky agreed to the delay.
Timbreza's new next court date is 1 p.m., Sept. 3, at the Mesa County Justice Center.
Since Timbreza sits on the 21st Judicial District bench, and he was summoned within that jurisdiction, it was necessary for the Supreme Court of Colorado to appoint Pototsky, a Garfield County Court judge, to his case. That appointment happened June 21, and on June 27, Pototsky issued an order assigning the 9th Judicial District — which covers Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties — as the prosecuting office in the case.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Jeff Cheney said this week that Assistant District Attorney Ben Sollars thus far has been assigned as lead prosecutor on the case.
Cheney said in an email that the prosecution team is still gathering discovery materials and disseminating those to Timbreza's defense team. That discovery includes all of the reports and evidence collected so far, Cheney wrote.
Parallel to the judicial case against Timbreza is an administrative process to consider Timbreza's driving privileges in the wake of the issuance of the summonses.
According to requirements of the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers who are accused of driving under the influence and who refuse law enforcement cooperation have seven days from their citation to request a DMV hearing about the mandatory suspension of their driver's license.
It's believed that Timbreza did not request that hearing, and according to state statute, will lose his driving privileges for one year.
"We are in the preliminary stages of this prosecution and the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, I cannot comment on any of the particulars regarding the evidence or the status of the accused's driver's license," Cheney wrote, when asked about the status of Timbreza's license.
Timbreza was behind the wheel of an SUV that witnesses said was speeding before it crashed near 27 1/4 Road and Horizon Drive the evening of June 15. Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department believed the judge was intoxicated, and he was arrested, processed, cited and released following the incident.
Timbreza refused field sobriety tests as part of the investigation, police reports indicate.