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Cynthia Abcug was sentenced Friday in a Douglas County, Colo., courthouse by Judge Patricia Herron to 60 days in jail and 24 months probation for 2nd-degree conspiracy to kidnap and medical child abuse. Hers is a long, complex, and harrowing battle with overreaching child protective services, corrupt and incompetent family courts, and sensationalist media as she fought to do what was best for her ailing child. In this article, I will provide an in-depth look at the Abcug case up to this point.
My previous reporting on this case, which PJ Media has followed since 2019, has been extensive and should be read in its entirety to understand the complexities involved.
Despite the fact that PJ Media had covered the underlying custody case in detail, none of the media who later reported on Abcug’s shocking arrest mentioned the details already reported in the child protective services (CPS) case in which Abcug’s due process rights were violated in multiple ways. Instead of investigating the harrowing truth, prosecutors relied on a prepackaged single narrative provided by a police detective, Beverly Wilson, who failed to thoroughly investigate the case.
Nightmare Upon Nightmare
To quickly recap the actual story behind the approved narrative-driven news, Abcug was told by the best specialists in the country that her son, Christopher, needed specific medical care. After Abcug sought that care, Douglas County child protective services removed Christopher to foster care and accused her of medical abuse because she listened to her doctors. Abcug is now going to jail for doing her best to follow expert advice. Nothing was ever done medically to Christopher Abcug without a doctor’s orders. Any real investigator would simply need to look at the medical records to confirm that. This case should be a serious warning to all parents who are trying to get help for a medically complex child, that doing so could end up in loss of custody, criminal charges, and jail time.
The medical tests and conflicting diagnoses the specialists gave Abcug, who is not a trained medical professional, led Abcug on a wild goose chase directed by Christopher’s physicians. The state argued that the doctors only acted because of the reports from Abcug but never explained any motive for why Abcug would mislead doctors. They did not accuse her of having Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and in fact, a psych eval showed she does not have that disorder. She did not have any fundraisers for her son’s medical care. The state did not produce any social media posts that showed any attempts to gain attention through her son’s medical struggles. The only posts the prosecution provided were the ones Abcug made after her child was taken from her and she was seeking legal help and answers. The only fundraising she did was for the legal bills that the county forced on her by taking her son and throwing her into a nightmare of court battles.
According to the state, Abcug unintentionally caused medical abuse to her son that took the form of an x-ray, several EEGs (of which six were abnormal), one medication prescribed by doctors, a lumbar puncture (which Abcug was on the record in doctor’s notes opposing), and some blood tests over seven years.
Abcug’s legal trouble began when a physical therapist with no medical training, Kevin Younger, doubted the veracity of conversations he had with Abcug about her son’s condition. Younger called CPS and reported Abcug for allegedly “exaggerating” her son’s symptoms. Colorado CPS removed seven-year-old Christopher from Abcug while he was being weaned from a drug called Topamax (prescribed by both of his doctors) that caused many side effects. After Christopher was removed from Abcug and weaned off the drug completely, the child showed no more signs of illness and CPS decided to file abuse charges against Abcug, even though the drug itself could have been causing the symptoms they claimed the child didn’t have.
Baffling Interpretations by the Judge
Judge Herron made several bizarre statements during the sentencing, including saying she would be “haunted” for a very long time over the photographs of Abcug’s son shown in the trial. This may have led the public to believe that the photographs showed horrific abuse. They didn’t. Only one photo was used by the prosecution to show this alleged abuse, and that photo was of a happy Christmas outing where Abcug took her family on a ghost tour. Her son Christopher is pictured resting in a stroller that was recommended to Abcug by a doctor so Christopher could sit down if he was tired.
When Judge Herron tried to sentence Cyndie Abcug illegally today to six years in prison for a non-violent crime, she also claimed she would be "haunted for life" by this photo. She said this for the cameras. She knows the public didn't get to see the trial or the evidence. pic.twitter.com/zjsNRmIlJZ
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) November 4, 2022
It is worth noting that Kevin Vaughan of Channel 9 in Denver as well as Colleen Slevin of the Associated Press were both in the courtroom with me and saw the photos. I made sure to send both of them the photo the judge was referencing afterward to refresh their memories and ask them if they found it strange that Herron claimed to be “haunted” by it. Slevin denied remembering the photo. Vaughan did not respond. Neither reporter referenced the photo in their reporting. Neither reporter told the public that Herron wildly exaggerated the “injury” she claimed the photo showed. Both reporters were responsible for the majority of the exaggerated news that labeled Abcug “QAnon Mom” just in time for the 2020 election. This headline gave Democrats another excuse to excoriate Trump and run with negative headlines linking Q to Trump during an election year. It also allowed the false narrative that Q supporters were “domestic terrorists” to take hold. Both Slevin’s and Vaughan’s reporting helped Democrats ramp up political rhetoric right before the 2020 presidential election. Is that a coincidence?
Vaughan and I had several conversations outside the courtroom during the trial and he admitted to me that he never read any of my reporting on the initial CPS case against Abcug. I sent him all of my reporting so he could catch up, but he continued to report on the trial without giving his readers any of the deeply disturbing backstories that showed evidence of rights violations Abcug suffered leading up to the criminal charges.
On a humorous note, Vaughan recorded this news segment where he mixed up Herron’s and Abcug’s names and he referred to the judge as a criminal. It may have been his most accurate (by accident) report yet.
This is the greatest Freudian slip of all time by @writerkev who deep down knows this is a sham and the judge is the criminal. "Herron's crimes." ROFL This might be the first accurate thing Kev said about this trial. pic.twitter.com/M0jIiyt7uc
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) November 5, 2022
The other photos the judge was referencing were photos of Christopher smiling and engaging in normal activities like fishing, sledding, and other normal childhood activities both in foster care and in his mother’s care. PJ Media was in the courtroom. We have the receipts. There were no photos that showed abuse of any kind. Despite this fact, Herron opined dramatically, disagreeing with her own pre-sentencing investigators and the state’s prosecutor on the recommendation for probation. “I don’t know if they saw the photos we were shown in the trial of the impact — the physical impact — that you had on your son,” Herron accused. She scrunched up her face and looked pained as she continued, “It was devastating to this court to see him in the condition he was in prior to being placed in foster care.”
What condition was she talking about? A child resting in a stroller on one occasion? The Abcug family photos were not distressing at all, contrary to the judge’s exaggerated reaction that may have been for the benefit of the cameras. It’s interesting that Abcug was accused of “exaggerating her son’s medical condition,” while Judge Patricia Herron clearly exaggerated Christopher’s condition in the photos without anyone charging her with a crime. And this illustrates a very important fact: exaggerating is not a crime.
If Abcug did exaggerate her son’s condition to a therapist, a teacher, or a social worker, why was that a basis to remove her parental rights? If exaggerating were a crime, the entire staff at the Washington Post would be behind bars (and Taylor Lorenz would be serving a life sentence). Neither of the specialists treating Abcug’s son believed she was lying to them and Dr. Collins wrote that in an email. These were the doctors who ordered the tests that the prosecution called “abuse.” The only people who accused Abcug of exaggerating were people unrelated to the medical care Christopher was receiving and who may have had a grudge to settle with Abcug for advocating for resources the school, therapist, or social workers did not want to provide.
What should haunt Herron for the rest of her life is a case she previously heard where her ruling led to the death of a child. In 2019, Herron presided over the custody battle over 10-year-old Ty Tesoriero that ended in the boy’s murder due to her severe lack of judgment. KSBW reported.
Less than 24 hours before the violence, Anthony and Jing Tesoriero were attending a custody hearing where the judge said she planned to award the mother full custody of her son. Jing Tesoriero made it clear she did not want her son to stay with his father after the hearing.
“We even told the judge more than once that we were worried, we were concerned for Ty’s safety,” she said. “There were so many agencies that were involved, so many. I begged, talked to, tried to convince everybody to do something.”
“The judge had communicated that she did want to take the matter under advisement,” said Tesoriero’s attorney Caroline Cooley. “She did anticipate an order being issued over the weekend for Ty to be removed, but within eight hours Ty was murdered.”
Jing Tesoriero had also taken out multiple protection orders against Anthony Tesoriero, which he routinely violated. TheDenverChannel reports Anthony Tesoriero should have had his weapons taken from him under a 2013 Colorado law but that was not done.
“I can’t count, there was so many,” she said.
Asked what the police and courts did to help her, Jing Tesoriero replied, “Nothing. Nobody did anything.”
“Ty should have been moved from father’s custody and put into mother’s custody 15 months ago,” Cooley said. “We requested it. Our request was denied. We filed another request [and] the request was denied.”
How did Herron get to return to the bench after that terrible decision? The idea that a woman with such poor judgment continues to make life-or-death decisions over other children’s lives should be unthinkable. Instead, Herron can’t even be sued for her negligence because she enjoys judicial immunity that protects anyone in a black robe from facing accountability for the deadly decisions they make while acting as a judge. Instead, Herron is left on the bench making poor decisions, perhaps trying to compensate for her responsibility over the loss of Tesoriero’s life. At a bare minimum, the consequence of what Herron did to Ty Tesoriero should be turning in her robe, gavel, and law license. True justice would require jail time for judges who cause the deaths of children with their negligence. Herron will suffer neither.
A Biased and Vindictive Judge
During Abcug’s sentencing, Herron also held it against Abcug that she did not take “accountability” for the crimes for which she was convicted. It would be ridiculous for Abcug to do so because she maintains her innocence and has a right to preserve that for the appeal that will be filed immediately. “I haven’t heard a word of accountability,” said Herron. “And I get that there’s an appeal,” she said before ignoring the defendant’s rights and chastising her for not admitting guilt. “I did not hear what I wanted to hear from you,” she complained petulantly as if she was entitled to the defendant’s forced confession.
Abcug spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to get her son back through a confusing and hostile legal process and was denied due process many times. She was kept away from her son for over sixty days without a hearing to show the evidence she possessed that could have convinced a judge that Abcug was a victim of the medical system and not a child abuser.
Despite this evidence — including a letter from Christopher’s neurologist Dr. Collins, who denied all of CPS’s claims and reassured Abcug that she was not abusing her son, and that she directed all tests and deemed them necessary for Christopher’s care — a jury convicted Abcug of nebulous “medical abuse” and an attempted kidnapping that never materialized. Not only did the kidnapping not happen, but the prosecution’s star witness — Abcug’s daughter Hannah, who was a deeply troubled fifteen-year-old at the time of the event — said she did not believe her mother knew where the foster parents lived and she did not believe she bought a gun to carry out any raid.
The only evidence for a “raid” on the foster home was Hannah’s claim that she heard her mother discussing getting Christopher back and she believed she meant to kidnap him. Hannah could not remember any details of this alleged plot she overheard due to what she called “disassociation” due to a mental health condition. There were no emails or texts confirming any raid. The police never questioned the alleged unindicted co-conspirator Ryan Wilson or anyone else the prosecution insinuated that Abcug conspired with. When questioned after the trial, the prosecutor admitted to PJ Media that he never tried to reach out to Wilson, or any of Abcug’s other conspirators. Dawson said police reached Wilson one time on the phone and Wilson declined to cooperate. Douglas County investigators never attempted to detain or interrogate him. There was a national manhunt for Abcug, however, that involved the FBI and several sheriff’s departments and ended with her on her knees on a deserted highway in Montana at the business end of several rifles.
Despite evidence that Abcug bought a gun for home protection after a break-in, which Hannah confirmed, the prosecution spun a yarn and convinced the jury that Abcug really bought the gun to storm the foster home with dangerous members of “QAnon.” There is no such thing as a “Qanon” organization that has a membership list of any kind; there is instead a message board on 8kun where an anonymous poster named “Q” posted various conspiracies. Anons are the posters who comment and contribute to the boards. The two terms were conflated when uninformed media who don’t understand Internet culture started calling the phenomenon “QAnon.”
A Desperate Mother Scammed by Fraudsters
What did happen to Abcug was that she was targeted by a shady group of sovereign citizens who called themselves the “Pentagon Pedophile Task Force,” and sometimes “The Children’s Crusade,” who promised to help her get her son back through what they said were legal means. They offered her “legal help” and home protection and convinced her that she was in danger because her son was part of a trafficking ring that Donald Trump was targeting. This group told her they worked for the government.
Will Sommer at the Daily Beast reported extensively on this group — though he got Abcug’s story mostly wrong — and his investigation into the sovereign citizens behind her arrest wasn’t bad. Referencing the beginning of Abcug’s unfortunate scamming, Sommer reported the terrible advice that ring leader Field McConnell gave Abcug on a live broadcast in 2019.
In an August 2019 broadcast, McConnell urged a woman who was convinced her son had been abducted by Child Protective Services not to get a lawyer. Instead, McConnell said, he would just have Holmseth tell Trump about her problem.
“If it has enough sizzle, and yours certainly does, in my estimation — it’ll get to Trump and Melania,” McConnell said.
The group told Abcug they had legal professionals (who weren’t actually lawyers) and law enforcement who could help her get her son back. Abcug’s only crime was believing this lie to be true after being put through excruciating hoops by CPS and the Colorado court system, which had no intention of reuniting her with her son. In other words, she was desperate for help and traumatized by losing her son without due process, and she clung to the only people offering her what sounded like a way out. There was never a time Abcug believed the group was planning anything illegal since she believed they were working with the Pentagon and the military. Sommer reported.
For mothers who have lost custody of their children, McConnell and Holmseth lay out a world where children in the custody of a relative or foster parent are instead headed toward an abuse-and-torture network run by global elites. But when it comes to the solution to those mothers’ problems, two other McConnell associates—fringe legal theorists Chris Hallett and Kirk Pendergrass—step in.
Hallett and Pendergrass run E-Clause, a fringe Florida-based legal outfit that draws on unorthodox and legally ineffectual tactics that have echoes of the anti-government sovereign citizen movement. Hallett has claimed Trump inspired him to create E-Clause.
Neither Hallett, who lives in Florida, nor Pendergrass, who lives in Idaho, are registered attorneys in their states, nor do they appear to have legal degrees. But that hasn’t stopped them from soliciting donations to fund E-Clause, a for-profit company.
Abcug testified on the stand that her lawyer at the time even checked out the group and informed her that they looked legitimately like an advocacy group and he recommended she should take all the help she could get, as he was getting stymied at every turn by a biased family court judge who would not hear Abcug’s motions but granted every motion made by the county, sometimes during secret hearings that happened without Abcug’s or her lawyer’s knowledge.
Abcug wasn’t the only one who was misled by the “Children’s Crusade/Pentagon Pedophile Task Force.” Neely Blanchard, also labeled “QAnon Mom” by Big Media, is on trial for murdering one of the group’s leaders, Christopher Hallett, after he pulled a similar scam on her.
A once murky alliance forged in a world of internet conspiracy theories appears to have ended in murder this past Sunday, with an infamous QAnon mom accused of having shot a fringe legal theorist.
Neely Petrie-Blanchard, a Kentucky resident, had long ago lost custody of her daughters for reasons that are unclear. And to help in the task of getting them back, she turned to Chris Hallett, an amateur legal expert who offered bogus court services through a company called “E-Clause,” and who promised Petrie-Blanchard she could win her daughters back through ludicrous courtroom tactics he borrowed from the anti-government sovereign citizen’s movement.
Law enforcement, although notified about this group’s activities, refused to indict any of them for doing this to at least five women as reported by Sommer. I notified Deputy Eric Norcross of the Monroe County Sheriff’s department — who was the liaison to the FBI and who has an fbi.gov email address — about this group’s activities before Hallett was shot. I specifically told him and the unidentified official who accompanied him to my house, “If they are not stopped, someone is going to end up dead.” It is one of the only times in my life I have been deeply disappointed to have been proven right.
Even after Hallett’s murder, Norcross did not respond to my repeated requests for information on where my report went and what was done about it. I have sent FOIA requests to the FBI asking for Norcross’s report and never received any response. To my knowledge, none of the culprits have been arrested for any crimes relating to these custody scams. McConnell, the group’s ringleader, was arrested and convicted of criminally stalking a lawyer in Florida. He is currently out on probation and under orders to stay off the Internet.
Railroaded in Court
Prior to Abcug’s trial, the prosecution offered to drop all charges if Abcug would relinquish her parental rights and give Christopher to the foster family for adoption. If the state truly felt Abcug was a danger to society — as Judge Herron said many times during the sentencing, including expressing a wish that she could lock her away for six years instead of the maximum of three — why would that deal have been on the table at all?
“I am shocked by the recommendations,” said Herron, shaking her head vigorously. “I think there is a potential as long as Ms. Abcug continues to see herself as victimized by the system and everybody else that she will be dangerous again.” This was improper for Herron to say as it shows that she relied on her own subjective opinions as more important in her sentencing decisions than the law and what the prosecution and the pre-sentencing investigators recommended.
Herron also injected her own opinions into the charges and claimed to disbelieve that Abcug harmed her son unintentionally, even though that was the charge the state brought against her; the prosecution never made an argument that Abcug intentionally or maliciously harmed her son.
“I understand the medical child abuse constraints and what that involves,” she said. “I understand that often it’s not an intentional hurting of somebody, but intentional or not, you hurt him,” Herron claimed. “And you hurt your other children watching it.” Abcug’s two adult children told PJ Media back in 2019 that Christopher was the “sickest little boy” they ever saw. Both said they witnessed his seizures, and that Abcug was a good and conscientious mother. After being isolated from their mother for three years by a restraining order from Herron, one of them, Jeremy Abcug, changed his story and claimed he never witnessed anything.
When confronted by Abcug’s attorney, Ara Ohanian, with the statement he gave to PJ Media and DHS that claimed otherwise, Jeremy had no explanation for his two different accounts. Ohanian did not press him on it. If I had been cross-examining him, the next question posed would have been, “Were you lying then, or are you lying now?” Sadly, Ohanian treated every state’s witness with kid gloves. The other son, Jake, who was named in medical records as witnessing at least one of Christopher’s seizures and who was reported to have done CPR on him, was not called to testify by either the defense or the prosecution. Abcug repeatedly asked her public defender to call Jake as a witness. He refused. Ohanian’s only explanation for not calling more witnesses was that he believed he could prove the case on the medical records alone. But why not call the doctors who wrote the records and ordered the tests? Ohanian also failed to hire an expert witness who could have testified that the symptoms Christopher had could have been a side effect of Topamax. It was Ohanian’s “strategy” that cost Abcug her liberty.
At the sentencing, Herron attempted to victimize Abcug again by imposing an illegal sentence of twenty-four months in the county jail, which is far beyond the legal allowance. “Am I creating an illegal sentence?” the judge asked after trying to sentence Abcug to felony-level jail time for a misdemeanor. Prosecutor Gary Dawson responded, “The short answer is yes, Judge.” Dawson explained to the judge that the charges Abcug was convicted of were non-violent and therefore not eligible for that long a term in the county jail. The felony came with a 1–3 year sentence in the Department of Corrections, but the medical abuse charge could only receive either a short stay in the county jail or probation. The prosecution recommended probation.
As Abcug is a first-time felon, the prosecutor actually defended her in front of Herron (as her own attorney sat mostly mute) and reminded the judge that first-time felons hardly ever receive jail time in Colorado. Herron was visibly upset by this and insinuated multiple times that she wished to put Abcug in jail for as long as possible.
Abcug brought many supporters with her to court to speak on her behalf. Many of them were women she sponsors in Alcoholics Anonymous, of which Abcug has been an active member for over twenty years, who told the court that Abcug is instrumental in their ongoing sobriety.
Kathryn Hall, a personal friend of Abcug’s, told Herron, “I met Ms. Abcug in 2019. We had developed a relationship after my daughter had been murdered. Cyndi has been an absolute asset to my family.” Hall described Abcug’s commitment to helping the family with yearly charity work in memory of her daughter. “I’ve seen her do nothing but put everybody else before herself,” continued Hall. “I hear what’s going on here today and that’s not the person that I know.”
After hearing the statements of the many people who said Abcug helped them, Judge Herron dismissed it all and chastised Abcug for helping others. “Are you helping some people? Yes, I suppose you are,” she said, unimpressed. “But sometimes it’s much much easier to focus your attention on others rather than taking a good, hard, deep look at yourself. [It’s] pretty much easy to go and spend that time supporting and lifting up others. I would encourage you to spend 100% of your time digging deep into yourself, looking at you and why these things happened,” admonished Herron, looking smug. This judicial advice would come as a surprise to judges who regularly order “community service” for rehabilitation. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a judge ordering “self-reflection” as any kind of serious rehabilitation exercise. Does Herron really believe the community is better served if Abcug stops sponsoring women in AA to sit in the county jail? The notion is absurd.
Then the judge outrageously scolded Abcug for exercising her first amendment rights to speak publicly against the government that took her son under extremely questionable circumstances.
“You got on podcasts, or websites, or something,” said Herron dismissively, waving her hand in a derogatory way, “and talked about the system being so broken that it was illegal. People getting millions of dollars to steal children from families. And especially interesting to you was that Christopher was disabled and they got extra money for taking him. Based on what?” she said incredulously.
Every one of those claims of corruption the judge listed is demonstrably true. Herron must either be ignorant of the facts about child welfare corruption that have been widely reported by major news sources including USA Today, NPR, and our own State Department, or a part of the ongoing criminal activity and actively trying to punish the person who brought attention to the criminal corruption in Colorado’s child welfare and court system.
Abcug had a right to get on any podcast she wanted and tell her story about what Douglas County did to her family. People in Douglas County were making millions (and still are) on the foster-care-to-adoption pipeline. The person Abcug accused of making millions was court-appointed psychologist James Baroffio, who was assigned to evaluate Abcug and whose salary was FOIA’d by PJ Media. Baroffio contracted with several counties in Colorado and Texas to do psychological evaluations on parents CPS targeted as “abusive.” In just Douglas County alone, Baroffio made over $400,000 in less than a year. If his pay was similar in the other counties where he worked, he would easily make over a million a year of tax-payer money removing parents from their children on behalf of the state. After PJ Media put in the request for Baroffio’s salary, he removed himself from Abcug’s case.
Interestingly, if Abcug had said anything that would incriminate her on those podcasts, of which there were hundreds, the prosecution was unable to use all but one. And even the one they used didn’t actually indict her in any way. They played one clip of Abcug saying she had a judge removed from her custody case and a lawyer “kicked off” as well. When the prosecution claimed the attorney “withdrew” from the case, he thought he had impeached Abcug. But the truth is that the attorney only withdrew after getting an email from PJ Media asking why she had not withdrawn after Abcug fired her. She withdrew the next day. I would categorize that as “kicked off.” As for the judge, Abcug filed a motion to recuse and the judge was forced off. These semantics were not lies, but simply different ways of describing the same thing. Unfortunately, Ohanian didn’t present any evidence to show the jury what actually happened and just let the lie sit and poison the case. He also allowed the prosecution to make Abcug look crazy for posting on Twitter that the foster care system has a sex trafficking problem. There was no excuse for this. I was sitting behind Ohanian and texting him the evidence he needed to prove Abcug was right. He didn’t use any of it.
I wish I didn't have to burn a public defender, Ara Ohanian, who dropped the ball defending Cynthia Abcug. Proof he had everything he needed to refute prosecutor claims that foster care is not linked to sex trafficking. My texts to Ohanian on Aug 25th while in court. pic.twitter.com/QDiNqqXabJ
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) November 6, 2022
Ohanian never introduced Baroffio’s payment records we found, either, in order to show the jury that what Abcug said on those podcasts about “millions of dollars” was true. He also never showed them Sen. Nancy Shaefer’s exhaustive report that found that disabled children are worth double the amount of federal funds as abled children. Ohanian could have subpoenaed Douglas County for the actual numbers that would show how much money is attached to disabled children in the system versus abled children. He didn’t. He could have subpoenaed how many federal dollars are released to Douglas County every year for taking children from their parents and placing them in foster care. He didn’t. Instead, he allowed the false narrative that no one is making any money on child welfare to go completely unchallenged. The truth is, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry with such a complicated web of funding that graft and corruption is a guaranteed and much-reported-on reality.
Herron chastised Cynthia for claiming that the system is broken and our government makes money off taking children. Herron asked "BASED ON WHAT?" Here are some of the conclusions from GA Sen. Nancy Schaefer who studied the issue in depth before she was killed. pic.twitter.com/VsCMZt53lN
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) November 4, 2022
Ohanian also failed to show the jury any of the thousands of articles written about CPS fraud and abuse just in the last few years. If he had, perhaps Abcug wouldn’t be going to jail now, since it was her credibility that was in question. The jury needed to believe Abcug, yet Ohanian allowed the prosecution to claim that the American child welfare system is saintly and above reproach. He allowed the prosecution to make Abcug a liar when it was the prosecution dealing in lies.
An Out-of-Control Judge
The judge went on to say that she wanted to give Abcug as much time in jail as possible. “My thought was three years DOC, maybe suspend a year of that conditioned on not having any issues at DOC. I am shocked by the recommendations, a little bit put off by the recommendations,” she said, trying to find a way around them.
Ohanian finally piped up at this point in the hearing and reminded the judge that Abcug had already served five and a half months, unconstitutionally, in the county jail during COVID-19. A higher court judge finally ruled on appeal that she was imprisoned unlawfully with unreasonable bail of $250,000 when she had not committed any crime that would allow such an excessive amount. District Court Judge Jeffrey K. Holmes wrote:
Defendant and others involved with QAnon may sincerely believe that DHS and others are involved in a conspiracy to sexually traffic children. There is no indidcation however, that she or other members of QAnon are themselves attempting to kidnap children for sex trafficking or other harmful purposes. Generally, association with individuals or groups with strange ideas is not a crime for which bail can be denied…
The Court’s order suggests an intention to keep the Defendant in jail no matter what amount she might be able to raise. This is not consistent with the presumption that Defendant is entitled to release. This court finds that the county court abused its discretion in the monetary amount of bond it set. The bond was excessive and tantamount to a denial of the right of the defendant to be admitted to bail in reasonable amount.
The only sane judge involved in the Abcug case was Jeffrey Holmes of the District Court who called out the County Court for its illegal denial of bail for Abcug and keeping her in jail for 5.5 months with NO EVIDENCE of any kidnapping. Why wasn't this used in her trial? pic.twitter.com/Ps0hHvoWJu
— Megan Fox (@MeganFoxWriter) November 5, 2022
Herron, who continued to say Abcug sees herself as a victim, ironically never acknowledged that Abcug was declared a victim of government abuse who was denied her constitutional rights by a vindictive court in Douglas County by Judge Holmes. It’s not in dispute that Abcug is a victim of an overzealous court that misused the bail system to punish a woman who was supposed to have the presumption of innocence. A District Court judge declared it so. Ohanian should have used this evidence in court to defend Abcug’s claims that the county had violated her rights and to poke holes in the prosecution’s theory that going on podcasts and associating with conspiracy theorists is some kind of evidence of a crime. Is Ohanian incompetent or did he collude with the county to punish Abcug? He sure didn’t fight for his client in any obvious way, and he refused to pick the low-hanging fruit the prosecution sloppily left in its wake. I don’t have a law degree and I could have given Abcug a much more vigorous defense.
Herron ignored the time-served argument and instead opined on how much she wanted to punish Abcug even more than the law allowed for the charges she faced. “I think this is a disturbing and…much more disturbing case than the charges would indicate and I’m sorry that it’s that way. I don’t like my options very good [sic],” she said with questionable grammar, sighing about not being able to lock up Abcug for what she deemed appropriate instead of what the law demanded.
“The court will impose three years DOC fully suspended…conditioned upon her successful completion of a sentence in the medical child abuse count of 24 months county jail with all but 60 days suspended,” Herron tried again before she stopped herself and addressed teacher’s pet Dawson, asking, “Am I creating an illegal sentence…by ordering it that way?”
“The short answer is yes, Judge,” said Dawson at that point, explaining that without a violent crime or sex offense the sentence proposed was not appropriate.
“I think that hamstrings what the court can do,” Herron opined sadly. “Let’s fashion it differently so we can reach the same goal.” Then she fumbled around for several minutes, confused and angry, trying to figure out the law she is supposed to know.
She finally came to the conclusion that Abcug would get a three-year sentence suspended with a condition of 60 days in the county jail and 24 months of probation. She did not consider the time already served. Abcug was told to turn herself in for imprisonment on Nov. 10. The conditions for her probation included contradictory demands: Herron demanded that Abcug maintain full-time employment and housing, and continue going to school. But forcing her into jail for 60 days guarantees that she will lose her job and probably her apartment, and she will not be able to attend school, where she is one month away from her legal aide degree.
Gratuitous Cruelty and a Record of Misconduct
But the worst condition of probation that Herron maliciously imposed was to order no marijuana use and weekly drug testing despite the fact that Herron knows Abcug was using marijuana for pain relief due to a chronic kidney condition that requires regular surgical procedures (she’s had two surgeries since the trial in August and there will be more to come). Abcug has a sensitivity to the prescription drugs her doctors gave her and cannot use them and has opted for legal marijuana instead. Herron appears to want Abcug to suffer in as many ways as possible. Abcug’s crimes had nothing to do with substance use and imposing such a restriction is downright perverse.
It is not enough for Herron that Abcug will most likely never see her son again, nor her other children whom the state alienated from her. It is not enough that she will lose her employment, her apartment, and her degree. Judge Herron had to go that extra mile and impose physical pain on the defendant as well as emotional pain in a vindictive move. Herron even admitted she was aware of the reason Abcug uses marijuana. “I am specifically ordering no marijuana use. I understand there has been some for particular reasons but I want to closely monitor any substance use, including marijuana,” she said cruelly. There is no justification for this condition of probation. Some states do not allow judges to do this and it is incomprehensible that Colorado does, when it was one of the first states to completely legalize marijuana.
Judge Herron has proven that she lacks judgment, relies on her own biased opinions over the law, harms people in her court to the point of death, and imposes harsh and unfair sentencing. We have reached a point in America where serious reform must be made to the judiciary to ensure that consequences can be dealt out to judges like Herron. Continuing to allow blanket immunity only ensures that bad judges will continue to act without regard for the law or basic human decency.
Herron’s record is rife with similarly bad behavior. When she was a practicing Assistant Attorney General, one of her cases was ordered for a new trial due to her misconduct.
“Senior District Judge John Kane ruled last week that Herron committed ‘several acts of misconduct that justified his ordering a new trial of John Wielder’s lawsuit against Colorado State Patrol Cpl. Kevin Turner,” reported The Pueblo Chieftan.
“The numerous deviations of defense counsel from acceptable norms are so flagrant that I am left with the abiding sense that the plaintiff did not receive a fair trial,” wrote Kane. Those deviations from acceptable norms included:
Expressing personal opinions on issues of credibility.
Persistently using leading questions after repeated rulings sustaining objections to them
Suggesting without any proof that stipulated exhibits have been altered by the plaintiff.
Stating to the jury that the defendant might be forced to repay the state for his defense.
On the bench, Herron’s judicial conduct resulted in a Colorado Supreme Court Ruling to require judges to hold hearings in order to suppress case files, due to Herron’s wrongful suppression of a murder case without sufficient public record. In other words, she was hiding her actions from the public and behaving like a tyrant who did not have to explain her decisions to the public she serves. The Denver Post reported:
The rules are the result of a Denver Post investigation in 2018 that revealed thousands of criminal cases were suppressed from the public – some for decades and frequently without reason or cause. Many still are.
One such case was the indictment of Kelly Turner, charged in the death of her 7-year-old daughter, Olivia. Five months after Turner was charged with faking the girl’s terminal illness and killing her, a Douglas County district court judge restricted all public access to the murder case file.
Since March 2020, the entire high-profile case had remained suppressed from the public until District Judge Patricia Herron undid her restriction on Nov. 20 when a Denver Post reporter asked about it. Turner was arraigned Tuesday.
In that time, no one could know what was in any of the 16 court orders Herron issued in the case during – including the order to suppress it – nor access any of the original documents or records that had been public when the case was filed in October 2019, such as why Turner was facing murder and a dozen other charges.
There was no hearing to discuss closing the case and Herron issued no written order suppressing the case.
The new rules by the Colorado Supreme Court change all that.
The rules would have let Herron to hold a hearing to close the case file, to give a specific reason for why she suppressed the case, and to set a timeline for reopening it to the public.
Herron was slapped down by a higher court again when she violated the rights of a defendant in her court who said he wanted an attorney, and she wouldn’t allow it. Colorado Politics reports:
Colorado’s second-highest court has determined an Arapahoe County judge wrongfully found a defendant had waived his constitutional right to an attorney when she failed to establish Jahmal Ali Price understood the consequences of proceeding to trial without legal representation.
Ali’s convictions in Herron’s court were overturned by a three-judge panel in the Colorado Court of Appeals. How many higher judges will have to clean up the damage Herron does to the Constitution in her courtroom before she faces a consequence?
Is this justice in America? Why should one more defendant sit at the mercy of Patricia Herron, The Worst Judge in America™? Anyone scheduled to go before her should have their lawyer enter a motion to strike her based on her long history of injustice and abuse of civil rights.
Abcug plans to appeal and PJ Media will report on the next set of more competent judges that will try to correct Judge Herron’s awful, terrible, no-good, and unlawful decisions.
See the sentencing below.