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Loveland - January 28, 2013

On November 17, 2012 Loveland Police Officer Jeff Mayers stopped
Loveland resident Julie Krenning for allegedly driving slightly over
the speed limit on Taft Ave. near 8th Street in Loveland.

Unable to show proof of insurance, Julie was cited by Officer Mayers
for a potential violation of the compulsory insurance law but no
other violation.  Failure to provide proof of insurance is considered
prima facia evidence in trial for anyone charged with a violation of
the state's compulsory insurance law under the city's Model Traffic
Code.
LovelandPolitics.com
The Cost of Innocence
Loveland "fee" for defendants who demonstrate they have insurance and therefore
innocent of any infraction of the law is being challenged
Had Julie Krennng been stopped in Larimer County, the City of Fort Collins or most any other city in the
State of Colorado, the charge against her would have been dismissed as soon as she presented evidence of
a bona fide complying insurance policy active during the time of her alleged violation for which the
summons (ticket) was issued.  However, Loveland's charge against Krenning is still pending for reasons her
father, Loveland attorney Troy Krenning, doesn't believe are entirely legal.

According to Colorado state law and Loveland's own traffic code,

"No person charged with violating subsection (1),(2), or (3) of this section shall be convicted if he
produces in court a bona fide complying policy or certification of self-insurance which was in full force
and effect, as required by sections 10-4-619 and 10-4-620, C.R.S., at the time of the alleged violation.
(Ord. 5218 Section 8, 2007)

Last Thursday, January 24, Julie and Troy Krenning appeared before Loveland Municipal Judge, William E.
Starks, in the matter of her charge of driving without insurance.  Loveland's city attorney requested the
charge be dismissed as Krenning provided satisfactory evidence she was indeed insured during the time of
the traffic stop on Taft Ave. last November.  Judge Starks asked Julie's attorney and father, Troy Krenning,
"Did the city attorney mention our administrative fee?"

Krenning replied, "I would like to know what the basis of that is...I was kind of struck as someone who
was not convicted of anything and must be found innocent.....why a financial penalty is being imposed."
 
The Krennings apparently waited for the court date rather than pay the city's administrative fee in advance
to have the case dismissed once proof of insurance was provided.

Judge Starks responded Loveland's City Council imposed the fee to offset any hard costs to the city for the
administrative process but also explained it is a $15 "
fee" and not "penalty" or court cost.  This is an
important distinction as the citation provided to Julie Krenning indicated there is no penalty or court cost
should the charges be dismissed or she is found innocent at trial.

Troy Krenning asked for a 30 day stay (delay) and explained nobody in the city could explain to him why
the fee is being imposed on people who are found innocent.   Troy Krenning, also a longtime Loveland
Planning Commissioner and former Mayoral candidate, plans to bring the matter before Loveland's City
Council.  As a defense attorney, Krenning says it is fairly routine that any court fees or costs charged to a
defendant are dismissed if the charges are dropped or the defendant found innocent at trial.

Judge Starks responded the stay would cost $10 (total now of $25) and the city attorney's motion to dismiss
the charge against Julie Krenning was not granted.  This caused even more discussion over the matter
where the city's judge and defendant's father clearly were in disagreement.  Troy Krenning argues he didn't
request the dismissal, as the city attorney is required to dismiss once evidence of insurance is produced as
a matter of law, thus making the required dismissal contingent on the defendant paying the City of Loveland
a fee improper.

Troy Krenning argued that there is no city ordinance imposing a penalty on drivers unable show proof of
insurance and pointed out the city has an obligation to drop the charge once the defendant demonstrated
she had insurance.  While Judge Starks acknowledged it was a good question, he refused to waive the fee
even as Troy Krenning invited the Judge to follow-through and "
take this to trial" since he is confident the
city will not go to trial since her innocence of the charge is not in dispute.  

Starks explained,  "
It is almost a chicken and egg thing....it almost happens simultaneously in most
cases.
"  Unsatisfied, Krenning requested the stay and was presented with an IOU for $25 by the court to
sign so the later court date could be scheduled.  Krenning also objected signing the IOU arguing that if the
facts demonstrate his client broke no law how could the city be imposing a mandatory fee before the
charges could be dismissed.  Starks acknowledged the dilemma the IOU created for Krenning and granted a
stay until February 28, 2013 to hear the matter.

History of Loveland's Novel Fee

Loveland's City Council approved the fee for 2012 and again last year approved a "Schedule of Rates,
Charges and Fees
"  commencing on January 1, 2013 for each department including the city's municipal
court which includes,

"Request for Dismissal of No Proof of Insurance Fee, per request...........$15.00 - $20.00"

Last year, Loveland's court is reported to have collected $3,245 in administrative fees from 215 insured
drivers.  Some are critical of this new fee as Ft. Collins' municipal court is headed by a part-time Judge,
Kathleen Lane, who doesn't impose the same number of fees as Loveland's municipal court.

As Centerra grows and Loveland is unable to fully fund its various departments using general funds monies
which rely on tax rates limited by TABOR, Loveland has sought new and creative ways to impose additional
fines and fees upon residents which can be passed by a simple vote of the council instead of the voter
approval needed to raise tax rates.   Every department head in Loveland, including Judge Stark, have been
encouraged to find new and creative ways to collect fines or fees to supplement their budgets and reduce
pressure on the city's general fund.

Judge William Starks is only one of three city employees who serves at the pleasure of Loveland's City
Council (also city manager and city attorney) and receives an annual performance review by members of
Loveland's city council.   In past years Judge Starks has worked to make the court self-supporting by
ensuring fees charged to defendants cover his costs of operating the court including his full-time salary thus
not requiring any money from Loveland's general fund.

There is some controversy regarding his job performance among councilors but nothing that has been
brought to the surface.  Loveland's City Council is expected to approve Starks' job performance review
conducted by an outside firm on February 5, as part of the consent agenda during their regular council
meeting.  Krenning is expected to also present at that same meeting his objections to the court requiring
insured defendants pay a fee before dismissing charges they were driving without insurance.

One remedy available to council is to pass an ordinance imposing a fine on anyone operating a vehicle
within city limits who fails to present evidence of insurance when asked by an appropriate law enforcement
officer.   In the meantime, Troy Krenning is continuing to refuse to pay the fee in exchange for the city
dropping charges against his daughter which he claims state law already compels them to drop once proof
of insurance is provided.
The official record of Loveland Municipal Court
for January 24, 2013.

In the above audio there is a silence after the exchange
before Troy Krenning discovers he is being asked to
sign and IOU - so keep listening through the silence.
1409. Compulsory insurance - penalty.

(1) No owner of a motor vehicle required to be
registered in this state shall operate the vehicle or
permit it to be operated on the public highways of
this local government when the owner has
failed to have a complying policy or certificate of
self-insurance in full force and effect as
required by sections 10-4-619 and 10-4-620,
C.R.S.

(2) No person shall operate a motor vehicle on the
public highways of this local government
without a complying policy or certificate of self
insurance in full force and effect as required by
sections 10-4-619 and 10-4-620, C.R.S.

(3) When an accident occurs, or when requested to
do so following any lawful traffic contact or
during any traffic investigation by a peace officer, no
owner or operator of a motor vehicle shall
fail to present to the requesting officer immediate
evidence of a complying policy or certificate
of self-insurance in full force and effect as required
by sections 10-4-619 and 10-4-620, C.R.S..

(4) Any person who violates the provisions of
subsection (1), (2), or (3) of this section commits a
traffic offense.

(5) Testimony of the failure of any owner or operator
of a motor vehicle to present immediate
evidence of a complying policy or certificate of
self-insurance in full force and effect as required
by sections 10-4-619 and 10-4-620, C.R.S., when
requested to do so by a peace officer, shall
constitute prima facie evidence, at a trial concerning
a violation charged under subsection (1) or
(2) of this section, that such owner or operator of a
motor vehicle violated subsection (1) or (2)
of this section.

(6) No person charged with violating subsection
(1), (2), or (3) of this section shall be convicted
if he produces in court a bona fide complying
policy or certificate of selfinsurance which was
in full force and effect, as required by sections
10-4-619 and 10-4-620, C.R.S., at the time of
the alleged violation. (Ord. 5218 § 8, 2007)