City Government

DA Dan May on Probable Cause and Restaurants Re-Opening

Photo Credit: Colorado Springs Utilities

During the May 14th Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, El Paso County Commissioners unanimously approved a variance request to allow El Paso County restaurant dining rooms to re-open under new El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) department rules. That variance request will now head to the Governor’s office for review.

We, along with the rest of the community, anxiously await the Governor’s decision.

One portion of the BOCC meeting caught our attention; a very important detail had not been ironed out. District Attorney (DA) Dan May stopped by to clarify how his office intends to handle public health violations. It appears DA May doesn’t intend to treat business owners who violate health department orders as criminals. DA Dan May had in hand a portion of an email from County Attorney Diana May, that asks DA Dan May for assurances that the DA’s office will prosecute violations of the public health orders, that are supported by probable cause. This email from County Attorney May was placed on the overhead projector, and is visible in the clip found below.

Note: To our knowledge, there is no relation between the two attorneys who both have the same last name.

From: Diana May

Sent: Monday, May 11, 2020 6:19 pm

To: Daniel May; Jeffrey Lindsey

Subject: Re: Calhan

Dan,

We are seeking assurances that the DA’s office will prosecute violations of public health orders that are supported by probable cause and meet the criminal elements as previously agreed upon by your office as a last resort. Your office during the meeting on developing an enforcement process, did commit to prosecuting violations supported by probable cause. You also confirmed this commitment at a BOCC meeting. We have been told today that you personally have indicated your office will not now prosecute violations. On behalf of EPCPH, we do not want to assume rumors or hearsay statements by you are true, and wanted to confirm directly with you your position. Please let me know your position.

So, what is “probable cause”? According to dictionary.law.com, it is defined as, “sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed or that certain property is connected with a crime. Probable cause must exist for a law enforcement officer to make an arrest without a warrant, search without a warrant, or seize property in the belief the items were evidence of a crime.”

It appears the purpose of DA Dan May’s visit was to describe to the BOCC why he would not be pursuing prosecutions based on probable cause. DA May left little doubt that his office would be highly unlikely to pursue criminal charges against businesses. He expressed that education between public health and restaurant owners was the best route vs. escalating violations into criminal matters. Escalating violations to the court system has not gone well for other cities.

Watch the entire 18-minute clip here. It is worth the time, as many communities have made national headlines for their poor handling of health department violations. We’re pleased to hear that DA May has no intention of pursuing probable cause criminal charges against restaurant owners or other businesses. Most businesses are in survival mode.

We’ll continue to watch how El Paso County handles violations. We’re on the side of the business owners, and are rooting for them. We’ll keep looking out for you, El Paso County.

One thought on “DA Dan May on Probable Cause and Restaurants Re-Opening

  1. Apparently libtards think they can violate RIGHTS and break Federal Law without consequences.

    TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242, Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    TITLE 42 USC, §1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

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