Sheriff Wall's case continued

Defense, prosecution say they still are investigating

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— The court case against Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall stalled Tuesday in Routt County Court.

Attorneys on both sides said they still are investigating the charges against Wall, who was cited for driving under the influence and a related weapons charge on the night of Oct. 27 near U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. Wall was returning from a Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association celebration at Sidney Peak Ranch when he was pulled over by the Colorado State Patrol for an alleged failure to dim his headlights.

Tuesday was Wall's first court appearance related to the charges. Steamboat Springs lawyer Ron Smith, Wall's attorney, and prosecutor Karen Romeo agreed to have Wall's advisement postponed until 8:30 a.m. Jan. 16. The attorneys' investigations include interviewing some of the more than 200 people who attended the Chamber's celebration. Alcohol was served at the event.

Routt County Judge James Garrecht told Wall and the attorneys that he will recuse himself from the case if and when it moves forward, due to the court's close working relationship with the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

"We want to avoid all appearances of impropriety," Garrecht said.

To avoid the same perceived conflict of interest, Romeo was appointed as a special prosecutor by the 14th Judicial District, which includes Grand, Moffat and Routt counties. Romeo is the assistant district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District, which includes Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties.

The case also could be moved out of Routt County. Garrecht asked the attorneys if they would request a change in venue, but neither had decided.

"We're trying to determine if that's appropriate," Romeo said.

Romeo said last week that a plea bargain with Wall is still possible. She said such an agreement might be the preferred option because of the uncertain result of a criminal trial. Smith and Wall have refused to comment on the case.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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