From Darkness To Light

13 Aug 2023

Diversion Coordinator calls journalist to give redundant directives

Posted by Adam Howell

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A Diversion Coordinator called me to give me directives that were already given to me in a Diversion Agreement regarding a heavy-handed attempt by La Plata County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute me for video recording in a public building in Durango.

Diversion AgreementOver the phone, the Diversion Coordinator overseeing the case sounded surprised by the terms of the agreement. It was written during a Pre-Trial Readiness Hearing over some charges of trespassing against me at Durango Arts Center. DAC is a public building that’s owned by the City of Durango and Durango Arts Center as tenants in common.

Charolette Gonzales, the Diversion Coordinator for La Plata County District Attorney’s Office called me to give verbal directives regarding the Agreement.

She called me on July 25, 2023 around 11:07 a.m.

“I’m just here to give you directions for your diversion so you can do it successfully,” she said initially.

“I’m going to go back to your Diversion Agreement. Your diversion period is for about 18 months. That just means that this is how long it’s going to take you like that’s how long you have to do all of the things that I need you to do.”

“You need to abide by the Protection Order.”

“Okay, interesting.”

“Do you remember what the attorney had told you when you had signed your Diversion Agreement,” Gonzales asked.

“Usually when people sign these there comes a class or something else that you have to do of some sort. I’m gonna just give you some community service. I’m gonna give you about 20 hours of community service. This means that you can take it where you want.”

“Are you here in Durango,” she said.

In response to telling her that I live in Durango, she gave me the names of some entities to consider working for. A soup kitchen or a community corrections department were her first suggestions.

“There are multiple places where you can go like Manna or Hilltop. Basically anywhere where you think you could do some meaningful work in any way you seem fit.”

“I don’t have to pick for you. You just have to pick somewhere to do 20 hours. Have someone document that you’ve done 20 hours. And then come back to me with that completed and things should be good to go,” said Gonzales.

Then, I asked Charolette how she decides what a meaningful community service is. She failed to give a narrow standardized criteria for what may be deemed as meaningful.

“Well That’s what I’m trying to explain to you that there’s other places like nonprofits like Manna or Hilltop that offer what I’m asking you to do, and that could be deemed as meaningful,” said Gonzales.

Can the community service only be done for a non-profit corporation?

“No, it can be through other organizations,” she said. “That’s the best part is you get to choose, and then I just need someone else that can document that you did that and then bring it to me and it will work out.”

Me: “So it can be a non profit or it could be a corporation, it could be a company,” I asked.

“Yes,” Gonzales said.

Charolette explained that the community service could be done for a non-profit corporation or a licensed company.

“So they have to be one of the two,” I asked. “They have to be a licensed company in the state of Colorado or a non-profit corporation?”


“It could be either,” she said.

“Whoever did this did such a *????* damn job,” she said. “I’m sorry. I’m like usually the person who handles the Diversion Agreements and so usually I give the criteria, but they didn’t give you much of one so I’m like a little bit confused as to why they didn’t,” she said.

Me: “And why are you telling me I have to do community service when I haven’t plead guilty to anything or admitted guilt to anything,” I asked.

Charolette: “You haven’t gone to court at all yet,” she asked.

Me: “Well, this Diversion Agreement was created during a Pre-Trial Readiness Hearing,” I said.

Charolette: “Okay, that makes sense then, why there’s like no criteria that they created for you,” Gonzales said.

“The attorney that did this one isn’t in right now, so I guess I’ll just have to get back to you. But just know that I will get back to you,” she said.

Me: “Okay, can I get your contact info,” I asked.

Charolette: “Yeah, so this number that I just called you at, you can call me back here,” she said. “I work Monday through Thursday, eight to two. And then I can give you my email if you ever want to just contact me.”

Charolette Gonzales phone number (970)247-8850 and email address:

By the end of our conversation it was unclear whether or not she was still asking me to do community service.

“So that’s the thing is that I didn’t know that this was a pre-trial thing. And because the attorney didn’t really much to go on about it. And usually when I handle the agreements there’s already a pre-set criteria of like agreement if it’s like domestic violence or something or a class or something that goes with it, and so they didn’t put that down and so that’s why I have to go ask the attorney and figure out what he wanted to do with that so that way I can give you proper direction on what to do next.”

“Yeah so I”ll have to call you back and let you know,” she said.

As of the time of this story being written, I still had not received a call back from Charolette.

“So I will not be doing community service until,” I began saying before she interrupted me.

Charolette ended the conversation by saying that she might find out later that a Deputy District Attorney will require me to do community service.

“I don’t know if that’s the case, but I just wanted you to be aware of it, if it does end up being that way,” Gonzales said.

My attorney Chris Almeida requested the Diversion Agreement from Deputy District Attorney Connor Wills. This, after Deputy District Attorney Justin Pierce and Deputy District Attorney Connor Wills offered me multiple plea deals that I rejected.

Prosecutor Wills attempted to get me to delete all of my videos about the DAC incident, as well as agree not to publish anything further about the alleged witnesses at DAC. My attorney Chris Almeida aided in trying to convince me to waive my 1st Amendment right to keep and continue to publish these videos of public interest about the adult infants at Durango Arts Center.

I rejected their request to remove the videos, but agreed to remove the alleged victims contact information from the videos.

Earlier this year, DAC President Michael Scieszka filed a Civil Protection Order against me based partially upon some lies that he put in writing and told a judge. At a court hearing for the Protection Order, Scieszka told the judge that I reached for and touched a can of pepper spray that was on my belt in a threatening way. Without seeing a single shred of evidence, the judge granted the Protection Order, keeping me from visiting the DAC until I can successfully get the order vacated.

Diversion Agreement of Adam Howell (1)

UPDATE from Charolette as of August 15, 2023:

“Good Morning Mr. Howell,

I am still figuring out your Diversion paperwork but I wanted to explain that there are changes happening in the Restorative justice program considering that I am the temporary coordinator and my permanent replacement will be taking over in two weeks. I expect to have your paperwork figured out before then but if on the off chance it does not, your case will be handled by them. Thank you for patience.


Charolette Gonzales Interim Diversion Coordinator”

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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