Skip to comments.Fire starterís sentence could be cut to 6 years [Terry Barton update]
Posted on 10/14/2005 6:15:32 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
A former U.S. Forest Service employee who set Colorados largest wildfire could be released from state prison after six years instead of 12 because of a state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday.
District attorneys from four Colorado judicial districts, representing the counties in which the fire raged, will meet late this month to talk about the possible reduction in Terry Bartons sentence.
Our primary interest in this case is preserving the conviction and restitution for the victims, 4th Judicial District Attorney John Newsome said Tuesday.
The 4th Judicial District consists of El Paso and Teller counties. District attorneys representing Park, Douglas and Jefferson counties also will attend the meeting.
Newsome said the district attorneys will analyze the opinion during a meeting tentatively set for Oct. 28.
Barton, 41, was working as a Forest Service employee in June 2002 when she burned a letter from her estranged husband in a campfire ring while a burn ban was in effect. Embers escaped the ring, burning 138,000 acres and destroying 132 homes.
She was sentenced to 12 years, twice the normal term for fourth-degree arson. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that trial Judge Ed Colt erred by sentencing her to more than the standard twoto six-year term for fourth-degree arson in a case that didnt go before a jury.
The Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the prosecutors appeal, so Bartons case goes to another state judge for re-sentencing. Bartons attorney said she expects a six-year sentence.
Colts sentence assumed aggravating circumstances existed a finding that should have been made by a jury, the appeals court ruled.
Although Tuesdays ruling doesnt ensure a shorter sentence for Barton, it opens the door for argument, Newsome said.
Barton is serving a six-year federal sentence in connection with the fire.
I think the last sentence in the article is in error, too. Her current sentence is 12 years and it may be reduced to 6.
Whenever she gets out, I wouldn't recommend showing her face in the state of Colorado ever again.
(Denny Crane: "I like nature. Don't talk to me about the environment".)
Looks like two separate sentences. 6 for a federal conviction; 12 from a state court. I would guess they run concurrently.
Note that all the appeals mentioned are state courts, for a state judge's sentence.
Okay, that makes more sense. Thanks!