Laramie County DA Responds to 2nd Formal Charge
Special Bar Counsel has filed a second formal charge against Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Grant Manlove, claiming that "she is a persistent and ongoing threat to public safety in Cheyenne."
The formal charge, filed Oct. 18, references two cases -- the Rodney Law case, in which first-degree sexual assault, strangulation, and domestic battery charges were dismissed against the "habitual criminal"; and a child sex abuse case which Manlove declined to prosecute.
"These are not issues about the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, but rather, they demonstrate consistent misrepresentations, a lack of competence and diligence that is prejudicial to the administration of justice," the formal charge reads.
But Manlove, in a 12-page response filed Monday, Nov. 8, says "the decision to pursue criminal charges lies solely within (her) statutory duties and powers" and "the judicial branch of government lacks the authority to order or require (her) to prosecute a case."
Manlove on Tuesday, Nov. 9, issued the following statement regarding her response to the second formal charge:
For the last year, my family and my colleagues and I have endured personal and professional attacks against me and the Office of the District Attorney. Bar Counsel has harassed and tried to intimidate me in its unrelenting, unconstitutional, and malicious attack to supersede the will of Laramie County voters by attempting to remove me as their elected DA.
On November 2, 2020, following the Laramie County Health Officer’s issuance of a county-wide mask Order, Bar Counsel contacted me regarding my public statements that I would not prosecute individuals for alleged violations of the mask mandate. Throughout his communications, it is clear that Bar Counsel wanted a mandatory mask order from the governor’s office, like that issued in Utah, and called it a “sign[s] of hope” for “a trend of courageous leadership in the Rocky Mountain West.”
Obviously, Bar Counsel and I disagree about whether or not I should prosecute folks in Laramie County who do not wear face masks. To be clear, I did not say that the COVID-19 virus or pandemic were hoaxes, nor did I encourage people to not wear masks. In fact, I said that when I was required to wear a face mask, either by order of the court or as a requirement to enter a private business, I wore a mask. Rather, in my position as the top elected law-enforcement officer in Laramie County, I said that I would not prosecute people who did not wear face masks.
If my constituents believe my position on the mask mandate was wrong, it is the people of Laramie County who should decide that – with their votes – and not an unelected individual whose powerful professional position enables him to dictate his personal agenda to the people of this community by attacking my competence and ethics. Ultimately, the law and the facts will prove it is all meritless.
These accusations have been brought under an administrative ethics charge, with Bar Counsel’s full knowledge that the State would not pay to defend me and because of that, my family and I have had to bear the entire cost of my legal defense against baseless and politically-motivated allegations. Litigation of this magnitude could ruin me financially, but I have done, and I will continue to do, the job I was elected to do, despite the enormity of the wrong being perpetrated on me by an individual who disagrees with my conservative policies.
My full, formal response can be found on my campaign website, www.LA4DA.com.
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