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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ft. Collins Wants Master's Case Dropped

Of course they do.
Fort Collins Coloradoan
TrevorHughes @coloradoan.com

The city of Fort Collins on Tuesday formally asked a federal judge to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit filed by Timothy Masters, arguing that he "was provided with due process of law in every respect" to his prosecution for murder.

The city rejected Masters' claims of unfair, malicious prosecution. Responding on behalf of the police, city lawyers said Masters' suit should be thrown out, and he should be forced to pay the city's legal costs.

"Plaintiff was provided with due process of law in every respect in regard to his prosecution and conviction," city attorneys wrote in the 37-page response filed Tuesday.

"In all respects the defendants behaved in accordance with applicable legal authority in all actions associated with the plaintiff, negating any claim of liability asserted by the plaintiff against them."

A jury in 1999 convicted Masters of killing Peggy Hettrick in a Fort Collins field February 1987. His conviction was then upheld by the state's two highest courts.

But a year ago Thursday, a special judge overturned Masters' conviction on the grounds that newly discovered DNA evidence pointed toward another suspect initially cleared by police.

Masters said he's not surprised by the city's decision to seek to have the lawsuit thrown out.

"It's what I would do," he said.

He added: "Right now, it looks like they'll spend millions to not give me one."

Masters last fall sued the city police and prosecutors who presented the case against him, arguing that they conspired to convict him by withholding evidence and taking other steps to prevent him from getting a fair trial.

The city and Larimer County have already paid more than $140,000 in legal fees stemming from Masters' case. Asking for him to pay back those legal fees if he loses is standard practice, and a judge would decide.