District attorney dismisses case against chalk protester from Castle Pines

Castle Pines woman could see charges dropped pending judge approval

Posted 6/29/18

The 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office has filed a motion to dismiss the case against a Castle Pines woman charged with drawing in chalk outside U.S. Rep. Ken Buck's Castle Rock office in …

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District attorney dismisses case against chalk protester from Castle Pines

Castle Pines woman could see charges dropped pending judge approval

Posted

The 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office has filed a motion to dismiss the case against a Castle Pines woman charged with drawing in chalk outside U.S. Rep. Ken Buck's Castle Rock office in protest of President Trump's family-separation policy.

“The District Attorney's Office has reviewed the case submitted against Shauna Lynn Johnson,” the office tweeted June 28, “and determined that justice would be a dismissal.”

A spokeswoman said the district would let the motion speak for itself when asked for comment. Dated June 27 and signed by District Attorney George Brauchler, the motion also cancels future court hearings. Johnson was scheduled to appear on Aug. 19.

Johnson made headlines after she was charged with second-degree criminal tampering on June 6 by a Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy for writing “Stop putting kids in cages” in chalk outside Buck's office.

Building management called the sheriff's office after discovering the chalk message. The building manager and owner, Jeff Drabing, declined to comment on the case.

Johnson and her two children, one carrying a bag of chalk, were leaving a meeting with the congressman's staff to discuss the immigration policy of separating children from their families at the border when she left the note.

The charges are a class 2 misdemeanor, which could result in a $1,000 fine and three to 12 months in jail.

If a judge approves the district attorney's motion, Johnson's case will be dismissed, her charges dropped, and court dates canceled, the district attorney's spokeswoman confirmed. She could not say when a judge would issue an order.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado had announced June 25 it would defend Johnson in court, calling the charges “overly zealous” in a news release.

“We are pleased with the decision of the prosecution to dismiss the 'criminal tampering' charge against Shauna Johnson, and we agree that it is a just result,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said in a statement. “Shauna Johnson is a concerned constituent who simply wanted to communicate a message of dissent to Representative Buck against the cruel immigration policies of the Trump Administration.”

Silverstein said Johnson meant no harm and did no damage.

“She should never have been charged in the first place,” Silverstein said.

Johnson stated in the ACLU's June 25 announcement, “It never occurred to me that I was doing anything wrong as I wasn't damaging any property or blocking any doors.”

She further called the immigration policy “a moral outrage,” and said, “I wanted to express that outrage.”

Buck's office had declined to comment on earlier reports of Johnson's charges. A spokesman said the office had no comment on the latest development in Johnson's case.

“While my family is elated that, with the help of our superheroes at ACLU of Colorado, I will not be prosecuted, there are still thousands of babies, toddlers and young children who haven't seen their mom or dad for weeks,” Johnson said in a statement reacting to the motion.

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