Columbine Kin Rip Judicial Pick

© 2005 by Howard Pankratz, Denver Post

Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.

Families say Jeffco assistant attorney Lily Oeffler participated in coverup

November 30, 2005 (p. 1B-3B) — Lily W. Oeffler, an assistant county attorney for Jefferson County, was appointed a district judge Tuesday by Gov. Bill Owens, sparking outrage among some Columbine families who view her as having actively participated in a Columbine coverup.

Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine on April 20, 1999, said he was angered by the announcement.

"This is a judge (who) was directly involved and helped to orchestrate the coverup regarding Columbine," Rohrbough said. "And that type of person is not fit to sit in judgment of anyone."

Rohrbough said Oeffler attended the meetings in the hours immediately after the Columbine shootings, during which Jefferson County officials decided to withhold documents from the Columbine families.

"There were multiple meetings and she attended all of them. And then she represented the county and lied to the courts regarding the search warrants and other information, claiming they had released things they hadn't," Rohrbough said.

A spokesman for Owens said the governor appointed Oeffler because of her experience as an assistant county attorney and the 12 years she spent as a New Jersey prosecutor, where she tried high-profile felony assault cases and pioneered the use of closed-circuit testimony for child victims.

The governor, spokesman Dan Hopkins said, wasn't aware of any controversy surrounding Oeffler. [EJF note: Simply one more example of an appointment of an unqualified individual for a high judicial position. Even as a magistrate it would appear the appointment of Ms. Oeffler, formerly simply an assistant county attorney, would be questionable.]

"This is the third time that she has been recommended by the judicial nominating commission for appointment," Hopkins said. "We also have received about 30 letters of support. We received no negative letters regarding her. And this issue was never brought up." [EJF note: And how many letters of support from citizens did she receive. We'd guess none, zero.]

Hopkins said there were six letters of support from Jefferson County district judges and others from current and former county officials, including Sheriff Ted Mink.

Mink said she will make a "fair, decent and impartial judge." [EJF note: Who will almost certainly help Mink keep his jail full and to hell with justice.]

Efforts to reach Oeffler were unsuccessful.

Columbine parent Randy Brown, who warned the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department about killer Eric Harris before the rampage, was aghast.

"Lily Oeffler, who just lost her argument before the Supreme Court with the most ridiculous argument you ever heard on why...information should not be released; Lily Oeffler who has been a main factor in keeping information from the public, is appointed by Bill Owens?" Brown asked.

Owens "slapped" the Columbine families "in the face with this appointment," Brown said. [EJF note: And kicked the rest of the citizens in the backside.]

Brown once tried to get Oeffler disbarred for participating in what he said was a coverup. He based his request to the Colorado Supreme Court judiciary review committee in part, on a meeting where a file was passed around that related to a 1998 draft search warrant affidavit to search Harris' home. It was never executed.

A state report released after the complaint was filed said Oeffler and other attorneys who were involved shouldn't be disciplined because they were acting in their official capacity as lawyers. [EJF note: It thus appears that lawyers have immunity and cannot be held accountable for their actions. In fact, in Oeffler's case, and others, they have been promoted for their injustices.]

Bill Tuthill, who as Jefferson county attorney was Oeffler's boss, called her a hard worker with an even temperament who thinks things through.


Staff writer Howard Pankratz can be reached at 303-820-1939 or



User browser Back button to return to previous page.