Attorneys file motion to dismiss charges against Cañon City woman in baby’s death

An attorney representing the woman charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury has filed a motion to dismiss her case based on “outrageous government conduct.”

The motion filed by Thom LeDoux on behalf of his client, Brook Crawford, 20, claims the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s comments made in an Aug. 1 television interview with KRDO Channel 13 regarding the case are highly prejudicial.

On Aug. 8, the Court gave the District Attorney’s Office 14 days to file a response.

Crawford’s son, 10-month-old Edward Hayes, died May 23 after he allegedly was abused by his caregiver, William Jacobs, 21, Crawford’s live-in boyfriend. He has formally been charged with first-degree murder.

On July 26, the court held a preliminary hearing for Crawford, and at the end of the hearing, rather than finding probable cause and binding the charge over for trial, the presiding magistrate, Claire LeBeau, took the issue under advisement and invited the parties to submit briefs as to whether the DA’s Office had met their burden to establish probable cause, the motion states.

“Just five days later, while the Court’s decision is still pending and without any other apparent reason, DA (Linda) Stanely met with a television reporter in her office for the purpose of making public statements about the case,” the motion states.

According to the interview transcript outlined in the motion, Stanley told the reporter regarding Jacobs, “Without the caring factor, without the love factor, then it’s, the (boy) is a pain in the (censored). … I mean I am going to be very blunt here,” she said. “He has zero investment in this, zero. He is watching (Edward) so he can get laid, that’s it. And to have a place to sleep. I’m sorry to be that blunt, but honest to God, that’s what going on.”

The motion alleges that Stanley ‘sat in front of a television camera and declared that William Jacobs and Brook Crawford are guilty and bad people. The prejudicial impact of those statements by DA Stanley is undeniable and immense.”

LeDoux, who is the former elected District Attorney for the 11th Judicial District, states in the motion that “the mere potential for prejudice from an Elected DA’s comments about a pending case is exactly why Elected District Attorneys do not, should not, and are prohibited by rules and ethical standards from getting in front of television cameras to talk about active prosecutions.”

LeDoux states in the motion that Stanley “has previously committed nearly identical violations and has been previously admonished” in an unrelated case.”

A ruling by former Judge Ramsey Lama on Jan. 25, 2022, determined that Stanley violated a June 3, 2021, order to limit pre-trial publicity in the case involving Chaffee County resident Barry Morphew, who was charged after his wife’s disappearance. This ruling was in response to the Sept. 16, 2021, defense motion for contempt sanctions for violation of a court order to limit pre-trial publicity.

LeDoux’s recent motion for dismissal says it is possible that Stanley made her comments regarding Crawford and Jacobs purely for political purposes.

“A somewhat embattled local District Attorney could seek to curry public favor by appearing to be tough on a crime involving a particularly sympathetic victim, in a way that might endear her to a particular group of political supporters, e.g. by using particularly blunt and inappropriate language,” the motion states. “An elected public official violating a citizen’s constitutional right to the presumption of innocence for political gain constitutes outrageous government conduct.”

Regardless, Crawford has and will suffer prejudice because of Stanley’s violations, the motion states.

“Ms. Crawford cannot get a fair trial with anyone who has been exposed to DA Stanely’s comments as a juror,” the motion states. “Furthermore, Ms. Crawford is the victim of DA Stanely’s libel and/or slander.”

Crawford and her attorney are requesting an immediate hearing on the issue, “so that DA Stanley’s statements can be condemned by the Court, stopped by the Court, and Ms. Crawford’s case can be dismissed by the Court. Such immediate action is necessary to repair the harm already done and to stop the ongoing harm to Ms. Crawford.”

In a brief submitted by Deputy District Attorney Wendy Owens on Aug. 8 regarding the July 26 preliminary hearing, she states that Crawford permitted her son to be unreasonably placed in a situation that posed a threat of injury to life or health.

“She permitted Edward to be left with a man she barely knew, who moved in with her a matter of days after they met,” the brief states. “She permitted (Edward) to be left with a man who told her that he had a criminal history,”  but she didn’t tell her family about his criminal history because she wanted them to “give him a chance.”

“She permitted Edward to be left with this man even after he admitted to her that he bit (the baby) on the arm, hit his head against a door or door frame, let him fall off the bed,” the brief states. “… Yet (Crawford) did nothing to help (Edward). She did not take him to the doctor or the hospital, except to have him examined (for an unrelated matter). She did not banish Jacobs from her home or call law enforcement to report that Jacobs was abusing (Edward). She did not get appropriate child care for (her son).”

The brief states that Crawford consciously disregarded the substantial risk that Edward would continue to suffer at Jacobs’ hands.

The defense’s brief submitted to the court Aug. 7 states that the DA’s inference that Crawford knew or was aware of a threat of injury to the life or health of her son is without evidentiary basis.

The brief states that the testimony during the preliminary hearing established that Crawford did not cause any injuries to the baby; that Crawford was at work on May 21 when any injuries occurred to her son; that at the time of any such injuries, Edward was in the sole care of Jacobs; that any injuries sustained by Edward prior to May 21 were also caused by Jacobs; and that none of the injuries sustained by the baby prior to May 21 resulted in serious bodily injury or the subsequent death of the baby.

The charge against Crawford is pending a ruling from the court.

The Daily Record reached out to Stanley for comment, but as of press time did not receive a response.

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