Weblog of Leland Rucker
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Jurist in the Cross-Hairs of Adverse Possession

Reading the Daily Camera earlier this week, I came across a half-page ad that strongly reminded voters not to retain a Boulder district judge on the grounds that he is an activist who doesn’t share the values of our community.

Judge James Klein, you might remember, was the jurist who decided last year in favor of former judge Richard McLean and attorney Edith Stevens in an adverse possession case against Don and Susie Kirlin in our fair city. Yeah, that case.

Unfortunately for Judge Klein, who rendered a decision based upon a careful reading of Colorado law and the evidence presented, the case would be seen by many in the public as an affront to general civility. The good news is that it resulted in the state legislature closing the loophole in Colorado law seized upon by Stevens and McLean.

The bad news is that, because he made the correct decision based on a careful reading of the law, there is a good chance Klein will lose his position.

A Longmont man, Randy Weinard, spent more than $2,000 for the attack ad, and it appears that he also might have violated campaign finance laws by not identifying himself on the ad.

Weinard got a double bang for his buck. You can’t buy better position than the Daily Camera‘s story yesterday, which ran across the top of the front page, with a photo of Judge Klein to boot. “An anonymous advertisement that ran in Thursday’s Camera urging voters to dump a Boulder district judge who made a controversial ruling in a land-use case a year ago violated campaign finance laws.”

That sentence is misleading. The judge did nothing more than make the correct ruling based up on the law as it was written. The “controversy” came up after the ruling, when it appeared that the plaintiffs used the letter of the law to misuse its intent and take one-third of their neighbors’ property.

The irony, of course, is that were Klein an activist judge, he would have ruled for the Kirlins, who seemed to be taken advantage of by two wily law vets. Earlier this year, the Colorado statute was amended. If Judge Klein got that same case next year, he would no doubt rule the other way if presented the same case.

But I’m guessing that irony will be swept away by the same self-righteousness that flowed through the streets of Boulder last winter, and people will probably feel better about themselves by voting him out of office.

Why does that old John Prine song keep going through my head?

It don’t make much sense
That common sense
Don’t make no sense
No more


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