From Darkness To Light

8 May 2023

Judge denies Durango Arts Center attempt to amend Protection Order

Posted by Adam Howell


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Judge Lobato denied a motion by Deputy District Attorney Connor Wills that was made on behalf of Durango Arts Center Director Brenda Macon, who felt unnerved at the idea of me working at a property across the street from her home.

Judge

Durango Art Center Executive Director Brenda Macon.

Additionally, Ms. Macon has been worried after she received phone calls with heavy breathing ever since a video of her was published on the Press For Transparency website, said Wills.

My jury trial for allegedly trespassing at Durango Arts Center was supposed to happen on May 11, 2023, but another man’s jury trial involving an alleged violation of a Protection Order was given the priority for that day instead, said Wills.

The judge wanted to see my trial get scheduled at a time when it was certain that it could be completed in a full day without bleeding over into a second day where it would interfere with someone else’s court business. If the trial can’t be completed in concurrent days, then double jeopardy could be at a potential risk of occurring.

“I don’t want jeopardy to attach in a trial that can’t be completed in a day,” said Judge Lobato.

As such, my jury trial was bumped to July 13, 2023.

At the heart of the trial is the question of whether Durango Arts Center can be considered private property in any capacity. Can contractors/employees at Durango Arts Center trespass anyone at any time for video recording, as I was doing?

Currently, the City of Durango and Durango Arts Center (a public charity) are listed on the Special Warranty Deed for the property as tenants in common.

Judge told of scared witness to justify amending protection order

Regarding those phone calls from someone breathing heavily, this is what Deputy DA Wills said about them:

“They didn’t start until Mr. Howell posted his video online, which contained some personal information, including Ms. Macon’s contact information–her phone number. I can’t prove that Mr. Howell is behind these calls, but they’re scaring the victim, and they started after he posted his video. He has followers on social media platforms, and they can also use this information to harm or intimidate Ms. Macon,” said Wills.

“Last month, Mr. Howell appeared in front of Ms. Macon’s house, and he sat in a lawn chair, and looked across the street at her. I believe he was there for perhaps for a company called Fire Start. I think they do fire mitigation,” said Wills.

“The length that this case has carried on, she’s scared all the time. It’s being carried on again, and I don’t think it’s asking too much to just not be able to contact her. It will alleviate some concerns. The hundred yard rule will make her feel safer. I think it’s warranted,” said Wills.

Email from Brenda and DDA Wills to my attorney

Brenda Macon, left, and Todd Macon, right.

Brenda Macon’s husband Todd Macon took the photo of me working across the street to send to the District Attorney’s office. Todd Macon works at San Juan Basin Public Health.

In response to DDA Wills’ motion to amend the protection order, my attorney Chris Almeida objected to the proposed modification.

On the day when I was seen sitting in a lawn chair at lunch, I was working at the property across the street.

“The current protection order already prevents Mr. Howell from contacting, directly or indirectly  communicating with the victims or witnesses. That’s already on the current protection order,” said Almeida. “There has been no violation of the protection order.”

After reading C.R.S. 18-1-1001 to the court, Almeida said that the court would only have authority to amend the protection order if I was being charged with domestic violence or a crime against a person. Basically, the prosecution could only amend the protection order to include the 100 yard rule if I had been charged with a crime that’s described in a Title 24 definition of C.R.S. 24-4.1-302, said Almeida.

“I don’t believe the court even has the authority to issue those conditions as a protection order pursuant to the statute,” said Almeida.

Immediately thereafter, DDA Wills read the statute in Title 18 and gave a response.

“I don’t have a statute to cite. Just from my memory, it seems like we do this all the time,” Wills said about modifying protection orders.

At the same time, the judge appeared to agree and understand with Mr. Almeida’s interpretation of C.R.S. 18-1-1001.

“How can I read this statute in any way other than what Mr. Almeida is suggesting,” said Judge Lobato.

While standing up reading the statute book in his hands, Wills responds.

“I think he makes some good legal arguments. I…” said DDA Wills.

Before Deputy DA Wills could finish his response, the Judge interrupted DDA Wills.

“Alright, I’m not going to modify the protection order any further,” said Judge Lobato.

The judge then went on to tell me that if I went near the witnesses homes, they could rely on the current protection order to have me charged with a new crime.


Motion follows previous attempts by Macon and Scieszka

Brenda Macon’s request to have the existing Protection Order against me amended follows a previous attempt of hers to have another Permanent Protection Order granted against me.

In December, Macon filed a Temporary Protection Order against me to further restrict my freedoms.

Her justification for the filing was that I was a threat. She also said that I posted her personal phone number in a video that I had published.

The judge denied her request, saying that Macon made her phone number a public record when she gave it to the 911 dispatcher.

To be clear, Macon verbally gave the dispatcher her phone number during a recorded call on May 7th, 2022 when she reported me for threatening and harassing people at Durango Arts Center. Her call was a false report to authorities that Durango Police Department refused to allow me to report as a crime since it would be used against their main witness that they were using against me in this alleged trespassing case.

Durango Arts Center President Michael Scieszka.

At the same Protection Order hearing, Durango Arts Center President Michael Scieszka had a Protection Order filed against me that the judge heard immediately after that of Macon.

Michael Scieszka perjured himself by telling the judge that I reached for and touched a can of pepper spray on my belt. This, Scieszka said, was done in a way that made him feel threatened right outside of the Durango Arts Center.

Of course, Scieszka’s claim was a lie that I attempted to refute with my own videos that I recorded during the entire duration of my visit to Durango Arts Center that day.

Utimately, the judge said that because of the pepper spray and my recording of Scieszka’s vehicle tags, that I posed a threat to Scieszka. The Protection Order of Scieszka was granted.

I appealed the ruling within 14 days, and the District Court has an infinite amount of time to rule on the appeal.

My jury trial for the trespassing charges has been continued to July 13th, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.

A motion to approve expanded media coverage at my jury trial will be heard on May 17 at 2:30 p.m.

The speedy trial deadline is Sept. 21, 2023.

To read a story about how Brenda Macon also provided false information about the ownership and funding status of Durango Arts Center to City of Durango police to have me trespassed from the public property CLICK HERE.

Adam Howell is a writer who believes in free press and the importance of the constitution. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.


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