Terry Barton, the fired Forest Service worker sentenced for starting Colorado's largest wildfire, begins serving her federal sentence Monday.
Meanwhile, the state judge who gave Barton (pictured, left) the maximum sentence for starting Colorado's largest wildfire was not biased and should not be removed from the case, a
In a motion filed Friday, District Attorney Jeanne Smith said
Judge Edward Colt had no personal bias against Barton and shouldn't be removed from the case.
Smith wrote that "there is no indication that Judge Colt was a
victim of the fire any more than thousands of other people in
Colorado who saw the smoke and became concerned."
Colt this month sentenced Terry Barton to 12 years behind bars
for starting the 138,000-acre Hayman Fire last summer. Before
reading the sentence, he told the courtroom he left home and spent
one night in Colorado Springs after seeing heavy smoke from the
Barton's lawyer, Sharlene Reynolds, later filed a motion saying
Colt might have had a conflict of interest in sentencing Barton
because he was personally affected by the fire. She asked that Colt
withdraw from the case and that the 12-year sentence be vacated.
If Colt withdraws, the case would be assigned to another judge
who would determine Barton's sentence.
Colt also said he spent an evening helping distribute food to
people who had been evacuated by the fire. Colt also helped his
court clerk pack for evacuation.
Smith said none of these actions indicated that the judge had a
financial or personal interest in the case, and that there was no
allegation that Colt expressed any personal opinion about Barton.
Several members of Colt's staff missed work because of
circumstances indirectly related to the fire, but Smith said that
did not translate into bias that resulted in unfair treatment of
Barton was sentenced to six years in prison on federal charges,
and she pleaded guilty to a state arson charge.
Colt has yet to decide how much Barton must pay in restitution.
Barton turned herself in to the Carswell Women's Prison in Fort Worth, Texas Monday to begin serving her federal sentence.
The Hayman Fire destroyed 133 homes, a commercial building and
466 outbuildings. Prosecutors said it caused at least $29.9 million
- March 12, 2003: Barton Wants New Judge, New Sentence
- March 7, 2003: Barton's Lawyer: Judge Too Close To Fire To Issue Fair Sentence
- March 5, 2003: Barton Gets 12 Years For Hayman Fire
- February 21, 2003: Hayman Firestarter Gets 6 Years
- January 7, 2003: Judge Rules Barton Must Wear Ankle Bracelet
- January 6, 2003: Terry Barton Pleads Guilty To State Charge
- December 11, 2002: Legal Troubles Not Over For Terry Barton
- December 7, 2002: Barton Pleads Guilty In Hayman Fire Case
- November 27, 2002: Hayman Fire Suspect Makes Plea Agreement
- September 10, 2002: Barton Wants Out Of Halfway House
- August 30, 2002: U.S. Attorney Says Barton's Confession Valid
- July 26, 2002: Sister: Hayman Arson Suspect Didn't Mean To Set Fire
- June 27, 2002: Barton Bonds Out, Released From Jail
- June 22, 2002: Prosecutors: Barton's Husband Never Wrote Any Letter
Copyright Copyright 2003 by TheDenverChannel.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.