Attorney General Suthers Comments On Appeals Court Decision

DENVER – Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today issued the following statement regarding a decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Wilder v. Turner (No. 06-1092):

“We’re pleased with the appellate court ruling,” said Attorney General Suthers. “It was the state’s position that errors by the trial court led to the unfavorable verdict, and the 10th Circuit Court has agreed.”

The case in question centered around the 2001 arrest of Mr. John Wilder by Colorado State Patrol trooper Kevin Turner on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Wilder sued the State Patrol for false arrest under federal civil rights statutes. At the original trial, a jury found for the state, but the trial court granted a new trial. At the second trial, the jury returned a verdict against the state trooper for $1 million, later reduced by the trial judge to $850,000.

In its ruling overturning the verdict, the Appeals Court found that Turner had probable cause to arrest Wilder, and that the trooper could consider the fact Turner refused a field sobriety test in determining whether probable cause existed.

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