Judge grants stay in Culverwell case | CraigDailyPress.com

Judge grants stay in Culverwell case

Collin Smith

Rodney Culverwell

A judge’s order will keep Rodney Culverwell out of Moffat County Jail for the foreseeable future.

Culverwell has been granted a stay for the “substantive” terms of his sentence, including all jail time, fines and fees.

Michael O’Hara, chief judge for the 14th Judicial District, issued the order Nov. 7 after Culverwell’s attorney filed an appeal of his convictions.

The case is now set for the Colorado Court of Appeals. The state Attorney General’s Office will assume prosecution.

Culverwell, a 41-year-old Moffat County rancher, was convicted in September of four counts of willful destruction of big game, a Class 5 felony, as well as four counts of illegal possession of wildlife, three counts of hunting without a license and four counts of hunting out of season, all misdemeanors.

He was sentenced Nov. 4 to 60 days in county jail, two years’ probation, 172 hours community service and $19,567.65 in fines and fees.

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O’Hara’s order will stay Culverwell’s jail time, fines, fees and community service until after his appeal is decided. However, Culverwell still is expected to report to the County Probation Department at its request and fulfill conditions it sets.

Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Snow, who was the lead prosecutor in Culverwell’s case in Moffat County District Court, said his office has no reason to challenge the judge’s decision.

Officials with the Court of Appeals said there is no timeline for when the case will be heard or decided.

In general, there are a few months for attorneys to file motions or other court documents before requesting a date for oral arguments. There likely would be a minimum of three to four months after that before oral arguments are heard, and then no timeline for when a final decision would be released.

The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed charges against the rancher after the Colorado Division of Wildlife reported finding 18 dead elk on his property in February.

Culverwell admitted to killing some of the elk to either defend his property, himself or his family, or to put the animals down because they were starving to death during an abnormally harsh winter.

The 12-person jury in the case did not convict Culverwell of wrongdoing in the cases of elk killed to defend his fences and livestock feed. Culverwell was convicted in the cases of three “mercy-killings,” as the defense called them, and one case where the defendant testified he ran over an elk after it charged his tractor.