Hearing in former cop’s sex case delayed

Carter ordered to reapply for public defender

A preliminary hearing for a former Cortez Police Department officer charged with multiple child sex crimes was continued on Wednesday until November.

Appearing out of custody under a $100,000 bond, Ryan Carter, 29, waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing before Montezuma County Court Judge JenniLynn Lawrence on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Due to scheduling conflicts, the hearing was postponed until Nov. 5.

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s brief hearing, Lawrence ordered Carter, wearing a blue dress shirt and jeans, to appear back in court next week for a public defender’s application hearing. At his initial court appearance in July, Lawrence told Carter that if he was able to post bond, then he would have to prove he remained financially eligible to be represented by a public defender.

Katherine Whitney, Carter’s court-appointed attorney, said Wednesday it was customary for the public defender’s office to remain on cases when defendants lose their job due to criminal charges. While incarcerated, Carter sent a jailhouse resignation letter to the police department on July 24. He posted bond two days later.

According to court records, District Attorney Will Furse filed a 31-page motion on Aug. 18, requesting the court to make a determination of Carter’s “indigency.” The hearing was set for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Included in the prosecution’s motion, a judicial directive from the Colorado Supreme Court defines an indigent person as someone “whose financial circumstances prevent the person from having equal access to the legal process.” Another judicial directive from the state’s supreme court requires a re-application be filed if a defendant posts bond.

Carter is charged with eight felony child sex crimes after his arrest on July 11. The charges include a pattern of abuse by the defendant, who was in a position of trust over a victim less than 15 years old. The alleged offenses occurred between June 19 and July 11,. Carter has denied the allegations and has resigned from the force.

Court records reveal Carter pleaded guilty to harassment as an act of domestic violence after he shoved his ex-common law wife to the ground in 2007. The guilty plea was withdrawn and the misdemeanor charge dismissed following a two-year deferred judgment and sentence.

Carter joined the Cortez Police Department in 2011.

Determination for eligibility of a court-appointed attorney is made by the public defender’s office, subject to review by the court.

State law allows public defenders to charge $80 per hour on felony charges similar to those in question. The maximum reimbursement for a public defender is $28,000 if the case involves a jury trial or $14,000 without a trial.

Both the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution guarantee the right to a court-appointed attorney. A 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright further upheld the measure for indigent suspects.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com