People v. Emily Burge — 97 M 1087

First Judicial District — Jefferson County

County Judge Charles Hoppin
District Judge Ruthanne Polidori
District Court Judge Leland Anderson
Colorado Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court
Trial date: August 19, 1998
Matter before the bar: Minor in Possession — the right to plead "not guilty"

The case began because of a teenage party "noise" complaint submitted by a neighbor. The police arrived to investigate. By the time the deputies arrived, there was no noise. However, they looked in the windows in violation of the "Peeping Tom" statute and saw beer on the kitchen table. While beer on a kitchen table in a private home is not "probable cause" to investigate, the deputies continued their search for a crime.

The deputies knocked on the door and asked for access, which was denied. But they entered anyway since the door was opened by a minor irrespective of the fact that a non-resident minor has no authority to give access to another's home. The deputies are trained to ignore this and let the homeowner object to the court, which always ignores this violation as "harmless error." The deputies felt that the occupants of the house, children supervised by a 20-year old, were "in possession" of alcohol so served tickets on each of the ten kids present.

The statute is written in such a way that consumption of alcohol is not necessary to be charged with the crime — merely being in the same room as alcohol without an adult present is a crime.

Most of the children did not tell their parents about being ticketed, but arranged a car pool to show up alone at court as commanded. The Jefferson County deputy DA plea bargained with the children, who paid fines with their babysitting money — and their mothers and fathers were none the wiser.

However, Emily did not want to plea bargain. For this reason, she had to go before the court and enter a "not guilty" plea. When called before Judge Hoppin to enter a plea, he asked where her parents were. Emily said she did not have her mother with her — and her mother was not informed of the ticket by the police. Judge Hoppin told Emily that she should have given her mother a copy of the ticket.

That is not true.

The defendant has no "obligation" to serve process — the prosecutor has that duty according to rules and law. Besides, service by Emily upon her parents would be invalid, as a citizen cannot serve process unless they are over age 18.

Contravening all common sense and jurisprudence, Judge Hoppin set a pretrial date — and Emily finally told her mother.

First of all, her mother was livid that the court had proceeded so far without notice upon the parents. Mother demanded the charges be dropped for lack of service and lack of jurisdiction. That issue was not addressed by the county court but taken up to District Court Judge Polidori. Judge Polidori held that "parents have no right to be served when their minor child is summoned into county court." This holding is absurd and blatantly incorrect (see table below).

Emily then motioned for assistance of counsel because she intended to go to trial. She was denied any assistance yet the county court had previously ruled that she was in forma pauperous . Emily was forced to conduct her own trial — at age 14 — and not surprisingly, lost against two licensed attorneys paid by the state to persecute this child. The transcript reveals that even though Judge Hoppin gave Emily a crash course in trial procedure and litigation, as if this is enough to be equal to two prosecuting attorneys, Emily was railroaded and the entire sham proceeding was an insult to the dignity of "justice."

The Relevant Law

How These Judges Corrupted The Law

People v. CO, 870 P. 2d 1266; People v. Dist. Court, 164 Colo. 430, 436 P. 2d 672.

Minors must be prosecuted under the protection of the juvenile code until they are 18 years old. Alcohol offenses committed by those over age 18 (not yet an adult) must be prosecuted under County Court Rules of Criminal Procedure.


C.R.S. § 19-2-104: Statute giving County Court jurisdiction to prosecute this crime if the offender is over age 18 and not eligible for Juvenile Court.

Judge Hoppin ignored the fact that he had a juvenile (age 13) brought into the wrong jurisdiction. Rather than dismiss the case, he proceeded with the prosecution. He denied the child a meaningful defense by denying the girl a guardian ad litem, court appointed counsel, a public defender, a next friend, and least of all, a parent to speak for her. His excuse for this injustice was that he couldn't find any provision in county court rules which would apply these protections to a minor defendant. Of course not — juveniles aren't supposed to be prosecuted in county court!

Rule 1 of Juvenile Procedure and Rule 4 of Civil Procedure

Rule 1 of Juvenile Procedure requires that Rule 4 of Civil Rules of Procedure be applied to service of process upon minors. Rule 4 of Civil Procedure requires that a parent, guardian, or state appointed custodian be served whenever a minor is summoned into court. Both County Judge Hoppin and District Court Judge Polidori, who was supposed to supervise the county judge, here refused to apply this rule and permitted prosecution of the victim (a child of age 13) even though the prosecutor admitted that the child's parents had never been served either by mail or in person. A blatant violation of law and due process.

Constitution - 6th Amendment to the Bill of Rights

The right to a meaningful defense.

In a shocking display that mocks the definition of "justice," the child was ordered to sit at the defendant's table alone in the court room and conduct her own trial. Judge Hoppin gave her a 15-minute lesson from the bench on voir dire, rules of evidence, direct examination, cross examination, re-cross, re-direct, objections and the purpose of instructions to the jury. This 15 minute lecture was supposed to prepare the child to have a meaningful defense. The child tried valiantly to defend herself against two licensed, experienced deputy district attorneys. Because she was innocent, but, unable to compete with her opponents, Emily lost her case and suffered a conviction for something she did not do, a disgusting lesson in injustice.

District Court — Case 97 CV 1364


Quo Warranto [or Interlocutory Appeal] to challenge County Court jurisdiction. District Judge Ruthanne Polidori held that a minor is not always entitled to juvenile court and that "parents have no right to be served when their minor child is summoned into court."

No legal basis was offered for this unconstitutional and unlawful holding.

District Court — Case 98 CR 3094


District Court Judge Leland Anderson, on appeal from the county court, affirmed all prior proceedings.

Colorado Supreme Court — Case 99 SC 703


Certiorari denied. Issue not of "State interest."

None of the appeals reversed Emily's sham conviction. The Colorado Supreme Court refused to correct Polidori's unlawful ruling because they will not take cases for which the law is already clearly established. That means: The Petition for Certiorari was not accepted because it would not change the law — Polidori simply violated it — and the Supreme Court does not make corrections when a judge violates the law — they will only take cases where new law is to be established. This is the reason most petitions for certiorari are denied.

United States Supreme Court —Case 99- 9491


Certiorari denied. Issue not involving interpretation of new law.


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