Colorado State Senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction), a former law enforcement officer, has compiled a reputation as an advocate and author of tougher criminal laws, particularly aimed at defendants facing DUI charges. In June, King received the 2014 “Legislative Champion” award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Among other things, King sponsored several bills targeting drunk and drugged drivers, including the controversial 5 nanogram THC bill that creates a presumption of guilt for drivers having it in their system, as well as House Bill 1191, creating the Medina Alert program, House Bill 1310 to fund breathalyzer tests for law enforcement agencies, and House Bill 1321 adding members to the Colorado Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving. King also co-sponsored an attempt to punish certain repeat offenders as felons, which is sure to be revived next session.
Suddenly, one of Colorado’s premier “tough on crime” lawmakers finds himself on the other side of the courtroom. As reported by 9News on July 30, King now faces three felony charges alleging that he defrauded two of his former employers, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Mesa University out of several thousand dollars. The Denver Post, in an update on July 31, clarifies that King is facing three felony charges for embezzlement of public property, forgery, and theft and two misdemeanor charges for second degree forgery and official misconduct, apparently as part of falsified time card scandal.
The charges carry potential prison or jail sentences and King could be banned from seeking public office if convicted. According to the Post article, King previously stated that the time card discrepancies were the result of honest mistakes and misunderstandings. Fortunately for Senator King, none of the charges carry presumptions of guilt.