I hate to beat a dead horse, but it would be contrary to my morals and ethics not to see a story through. As I have an index for this story, I have to print this letter from Wade Eldridge, Ms. Howard’s lawyer to Scooter News.
Southwest Scooter News
P.O. Box 16304
Golden, Colorado 80402-6006
RE: “ABATE leader charged with theft”; All charges DISMISSED
Dear Mr. Anderson:
My law firm represented Terry Howard in connection with the recent charge of felony theft filed against her by the Denver District Attorney. It is important to remember that, in this country, a defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until he or she is proved guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That presumption of innocence is one of the main differences between American law and that found in other countries, but it is too often forgotten.
The allegations of the charging documents were reported in the February edition of Southwest Scooter News. Before discussing some of the details of the case, it is appropriate to recall a speech from the character Iago in William Shakespeare’s play Othello.
“Good name in man and woman, dear lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘tis something, nothing; ‘twas mine, ‘tis his, and
has been slave to thousands. But he that filches from me my good name robs me of
that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.”
The Southwest Scooter News article contains many references to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant. As is often the case, that is only part of the story. Terry Howard joined ABATE District 10 (Aurora) in 1998 as general member. She became an officer (rep from District 10) in 2002, and the Northeast regional rep in May 2003. By the end of 2003, she was elected as State Coordinator (then a volunteer position) for 2004. In 2004, the ABATE State Board hired her as the State Manager (a paid [position, and then hired her as ABATE State Coordinator in 2010.
The arrest warrant for Ms. Howard was filed on December 3rd 2014, and she turned herself in of December 7, 2014. She retained my law firm to represent her, and was released on a personal recognizance bond on December 9, 2014. The case was scheduled for a preliminary hearing to be held on February 3, 2015.
There is a provision in Colorado law (Section 18-4-401(6), C.R.S), which says that in a theft case, the prosecution must, upon request, provide the defendant with a “bill of particulars” which spells out the precise manner in which the defendant is alleged to have committed theft.
On December 19, 2014, my office filed a motion requesting such a “bill of particulars” from the District Attorney. While the motion for Bill of Particulars was pending, we reviewed ABATE documents that had been provided to my office by the District Attorney. One of those documents had the words “Forged checks with No Receipts” at the top of it. This document referred to twelve (not 22)specific checks that were considered questionable, in the three years from 2010 to 2013 (a time when probably 100 various checks were written).
I explained to the District Attorney that, by virtue of her position with ABATE, Ms. Howard had the authority to write herself checks in order to reimburse her for cash expenditures she had made for ABATE. For each one of the twelve checks in question, my office provided the District Attorney with corresponding receipts, bank records and credit card statements which showed that each one of the suspect checks was a legitimate reimbursement.
The office of the District Attorney never did provide the “bill of particulars” that I had requested.
Instead, on January 23, 2015, the District Attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case against Terry Howard. This was not part of a ‘plea bargain’ in which a defendant pleads guilty to some lesser charge, but a straightforward dismissal of all charges.
I have enclosed a recent photograph of Ms. Howard, taken after the case against her was dismissed. Ms. Howard and I ask that you print that photograph, as well as this letter. Terry Howard wants to reclaim her good name.
Very truly yours
Wade H. Eldridge
Attorney at Law