IB-2001-E (February 2001)
Author: William Dahlberg
In the following essay all names, date and locations have been changed to assure anonymity.
Judge Will Gibbons is a senior jurist who is highly regarded across Colorado. On Monday of Thanksgiving week 1996, I received a call from Judge Gibbons; clerk saying the Judge Gibbons wanted to talk with me. Judge Gibbons told me that a case had come before him involving James Forrest who had allegedly drawn a revolver on a peace officer and made verbal threats. The officer and hos partner had responded by ordering the man to drop the gun and surrender. Forrest allegedly refused and raised the weapon, whereupon one officer had fired, wounding him slightly. Forrest was then arrested and jailed after aid treatment in a nearby hospital’s emergency room.
Following Forrest’s arrest, charges were filed by the District Attorney and the case was assigned to a young assistant for prosecution. The Public Defender;s office assigned an attorney to defend Forrest.
Judge Gibbon’s long tenure on the bench and thorough knowledge of the community prompted him to think that matters were not actually as represented to him, since he had some distant knowledge of both parties involved in the initial action. Judge Gibbons evidently called me because I had appeared before him times as an expert and he had confidence in my opinions. He wanted me to do a thorough evaluation of Forrest and his situation, and to provide a written report of my of opinions as well as any recommendations I might have to remedy the situation. For reasons that I did not know, Judge Gibbons told me that he would not issue an order for an evaluation but assures me that I would be paid for my work.