Judge denies extreme risk protection order filed by inmate against Weld County sheriff

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GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) -- A judge denied an extreme risk protection order that was filed against Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams.

The petition was filed by Leo Crespin, who is currently being held in the Weld County Jail for a number of drug-related felony charges.

Under Colorado's new "red flag" law, any citizen can file to have someone's firearms removed if they are believed to be a danger to anyone, including themselves.

A judge will decide if someone initially meets the criteria to have his or her guns taken away. This first hearing will be conducted ex parte, without the gun owner present.

A judge can decide if the situation warrants the sheriff and his or her deputies moving in to take guns away immediately without the gun owner's knowledge and before a notice to appear in court can be given to the gun owner.

A petition for an extreme risk protection order requires the petitioner to have a connection to the respondent, such as being a blood relative, a marriage or domestic partner, or having a child in common with the respondent.

Under penalty of perjury, Crespin said he regularly resides or has regularly resided with Reams, as he lives in the jail of which Reams is in charge.

In the ERPO, Crespin accused Reams' deputies of "excessively abusing inmates with these shotguns."

Nineteenth Judicial District Chief Judge James F. Hartmann denied the order, thereby dismissing the case.

"The Court does not address a threshold question of whether Mr. Crespin, as an inmate of the jail, meets the definition of a household member of the law enforcement officers working at the Weld County Jail, as required by C.R.S. 13-14.5-102(2); instead, the Court concludes that Mr. Crespin has failed to provide any facts in his sworn petition that the officers employed at the jail pose 'a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future' by simply carrying these items for purposes of maintaining jail security," Hartmann wrote in his denial of the ERPO.

In an interview with conservative Denver radio station KNUS, Reams reiterated his disapproval of the "red flag" law.

"The law, as I've said many times over, is junk. I mean, it's bad legislation at best. It's wholly unconstitutional. But these are the things we all warned about and the supporters of the bill said it would never happen. And I think they would still argue 'no one was harmed,'" Reams told KNUS, adding, "I think all those people that have had a petition filed against them and didn't actually end up in court, it's still damaging to their reputation."

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams says he was out of town for a conference when he learned about the petition through an email from the judge.

"With that email there was an attachment with an order to dismiss and I was kind of scratching my head because I really didn't know what it pertained to," said Reams.

Reams says he was disappointed when he learned about the petition. He says Crespin is what he calls a "frequent flyer" at the Weld County Jail.

"It is tough to take seriously mostly because I know who the individual is who's filing it. This isn't the first thing he's ever complained about for being in the Weld County Jail," said Reams.

Reams openly opposes Red Flag Laws, and says this situation highlights why he believes the law can be easily abused. Other members of law enforcement in Colorado support the law, saying it's commonsense violence protection.

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