Judge apologizes to innocent defendant
Judge J.E. DeVilbiss personally apologized to Brian David Palmer yesterday during a hearing to formally dismiss two felony drug charges filed against the British citizen.
“Mr. Palmer, I need to personally apologize to you – I’m sorry,” DeVilbiss said. “Your obligation to appear before this court is at an end.”
Palmer, a first-time visitor to the United States who recently spent 19 days of his vacation in the Pitkin County Jail, graciously accepted the judge’s apology.
Palmer, 30, had been charged by the local district attorney’s office with felony counts of possession of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute.
Authorities arrested Palmer July 15 on a warrant signed by De-Vilbiss, after a substance found in his possession tested positive for the presence of cocaine in a field test. The substance, later tested by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, was not cocaine or any other illegal substance.
Nevertheless, Palmer spent 19 days in jail, including two weeks after three follow-up field tests on the substance all returned negative results. The follow-up tests were conducted after Palmer’s first court appearance, when he claimed the powder in question was baking soda.
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