Boulder DA Stan Garnett spent much of last year trying to tear down Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, attacking him over a supposed "Willie Horton" incident of a criminal who committed murders after being transferred to Colorado under an order signed by Suthers. While Garnett failed to win the Attorney General race with that archetype, a more modern analogy may describe his role in the case of drug-running former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan.
CBS4 now reports Garnett bungled evidence of methamphetamine dealing regarding the now-indicted Sheriff, failing to properly investigate a tip about Sullivan's drug dealing nine months ago, inviting comparisons to disgraced Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, or JoePa, who failed to properly follow up on reports of child rape by his underling, Jerry Sandusky.
Reports CBS4's award-winning investigative reporter Brian Maas:
A CBS4 Investigation has learned that a tipster contacted Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett beginning in March, telling the D.A. that former sheriff Pat Sullivan was involved in illegal drug dealing, months before Sullivan was arrested on felony drug charges.
Garnett claims to have passed on the tip, but didn't do much to pursue the lead. Echoes of Penn State?
Sullivan, like another political pop culture figure and Colorado pastor, Ted Haggard, was ultimately caught trying to trade meth for sex with another man only a few weeks ago, no thanks to Garnett.
Garnett lost an embarrassingly weak campaign — Suthers won 57-43 — using smear ads trying to tie Suthers to convicted murderer Scott Kimball, something Colorado Pols cried was a modern day equivalent of Wille Horton.
After losing a campaign with a "Willie Horton" ad, now the egg is on Garnett's face with him occupying the Colorado equivalent of Joe Paterno — the man who failed to investigate a tip.
During last year's campaign the mouth breathers over at Colorado Pols were beside themselves with joy, penning a flurry of posts on the issue, praying that the ad campaign would succeed in defeating Suthers.
They said at the time of the story:
But if you don't see a story with devastating political consequences for Suthers–who had better come up with an excellent reason for why he let this man loose in our state to murder four people, and right now–you're pretty much blind. [Pols' emphasis]
Suthers went on to win by bigger margins than any other statewide candidate in 2010.
Guess that's egg on the face for both Garnet and Colorado Pols.