I always hate to read news about people who, having accomplished much in their lives, see their reputations in tatters and find themselves facing jail over an alleged silly act that by all accounts is out of character for them. Today, former City Attorney and Denver District Court Judge Larry Manzanares was charged with four felony counts and two misdemeanor counts for allegedly stealing a laptop computer owned by the city.
The Denver native and former district judge was charged with felony charges of embezzlement of public property, theft, tampering with physical evidence. He was also charged with misdemeanor charges of official misconduct and computer crime, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office. He was expected to turn himself in and be released on a personal recognizance bond.
Manzanares claimed at the time that he bought the computer from a man in a parking lot. The case was sent to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office for investigation to avoid a conflict of interest.
Manzanares told 7NEWS at the time that he bought the laptop from a stranger in the parking lot near the City and County Building and he had no idea that the computer was stolen. He said he didn't remember how much he had paid for it. According to the affidavit, Manzanares said the unidentified man provided him with a password for the computer. "When I was informed that there was a computer that was stolen and that it might be one that I had, I immediately brought it back because, until that point, I had no idea. The minute I learned that there was a stolen computer, I brought it in," Manzanares told Kovleski.
One would think a former Judge would know better than to try and tell his story in the media. He was quite specific. He bought the computer from a man seeking bail money, not knowing it had been stolen from the courthouse storage room. Now he's stuck with it. His lawyer, Gary Lozow, issued a statement today:
"There is no adult who has not exercised bad judgment or made a mistake in their lifetime. Whether he exercised good judgment in buying a used computer isn't at issue. When the judicial system addresses the real question - whether he broke the law, we know he'll be treated fairly. It would be inappropriate to comment any further," attorney Gary Lozow concluded.
I wish Mr. Manzanares good luck. The D.A.'s office sure threw the book at him.