Law Week Colorado reports that a bar complaint containing 29 claims has been filed against the District Attorney of the 3rd Judicial District, Francisco Ruybalid IV. The claims assert, among other things, that Ruybalid has unlawfully obstructed another party’s access to evidence, knowingly disobeyed an obligation under the rules of a tribunal, failed to timely disclose evidence to the defense and – more broadly – engaged in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The Pueblo Chieftain offers further insight, reporting that the claims include assertions that Ruybalid:
- Repeatedly disobeyed orders of judges in Trinidad and Walsenburg.
- Intentionally and repeatedly violated a state court rule that requires prosecutors to provide potential evidence and information that might favor defendants to attorneys for defendants before trials.
- Hired inexperienced prosecutors for key positions, whose actions in court sometimes were incompetent, and failed to train and supervise them.
- The complaint cites several examples of Ruybalid or his subordinate prosecutors dismissing cases against criminal defendants when judges threw out evidence due to the prosecutors’ misconduct.
- Ruybalid, for example, dismissed a murder case against Scott Kibitt last October after a judge decided there had been “willful misconduct by the prosecutor’s office” and sanctioned the prosecutor for the misconduct by limiting evidence he could use against Kibitt.
The claims stem from six different cases involving Ruybalid’s office that date back to October 2010. The 67-page complaint was filed by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel on Aug. 21, apparently at the conclusion of an 11 month investigation.
As part of that investigation, the Chieftain reports, the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel examined the ruling of a district court judge who said of Ruybalid:“…there is a pattern of blatant disregard (for the rule at issue) and a blatant disregard for orders issued by this court as well as other judges in this district by Mr. Ruybalid’s District Attorney’s office. The only conclusion this court can come to is willful misconduct by the prosecutor’s office.”
The Chieftain says regulation counsel is asking that Ruybalid be “appropriately disciplined” by the attorney disciplinary judge.