Sheriff candidate talks about ’96 arrest
EAGLE COUNTY ” Sheriff candidate Brian “Scott” Griffin stumbled into legal trouble 10 years ago during a domestic dispute with his then wife.
The Democratic candidate pleaded guilty to harassment in 1996 and is now running for office against Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy.
“No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and I’ve made mistakes,” said Griffin, 40.
In 1996, Griffin agreed to plead guilty to harassment stemming from a domestic dispute in Gypsum with his then wife, according to Eagle County Court and law enforcement documents. He originally faced the harassment charge coupled with domestic violence, which was later dropped by the Eagle County district attorney.
Griffin was sentenced to a deferred judgment for one year, meaning if he did not commit a criminal offense during that time, the incident could be wiped off his record. Griffin said he was not convicted of the crime. However, court records clearly show he signed a plea of guilty document on May 13, 1996
“I have nothing to hide,” Griffin said. “I was going through a divorce with my ex-wife.”
Griffin said he never has been arrested for another crime.
The charge stems from an April 13, 1996 incident in which Griffin was arrested, according to reports by Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies Mike Bosley and Greg Thompson. That day, Griffin arrived at his then-wife’s residence early in the morning to resolve a tax matter before the Internal Revenue Service’s April 15 tax deadline, Griffin told deputies.
Through the door, Griffin accused his ex-wife of seeing other people and having someone in the residence, Griffin’s wife told deputies, according to their report. He then stuck his foot in the door and she told him not to come in. Griffin left approximately 20 minutes after arriving at the home, the reports show.
That same night, Griffin returned to the residence. His wife cracked the door to speak with Griffin, who forced his way into the residence, she told police. He then shoved her in the upper chest, causing her to hit a speaker and fall into the wall, she told deputies.
In the report, Griffin contends he stuck his foot in the door, the two argued, and he then left.
“There was never any physical contact,” Griffin said Tuesday.
Two of the ex-wife’s friends came to the house, concerned for her safety, and Griffin left shortly after, the reports show. One of the friends saw a red semi-circular mark on the woman’s right shoulder area, although Bosley observed no marks when he arrived, the reports show.
The reports also show Griffin contacted deputies about the incident and fully cooperated with deputies. In domestic violence incidents, the accused is always arrested to allow for a “cool-down” period, Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Andree said.
Griffin said he believes the guilty plea to harassment shouldn’t hurt his bid for election.
“That’s not who I am,” he said.
Eagle County Democratic Party Chairman Harvie Branscomb said neither he nor the party were aware of Griffin’s situation. Branscomb said it is not the party’s responsibility to check into the backgrounds of its candidates, and he doesn’t know how the party might check backgrounds.
“We are just the foundation for Democrats to become candidates,” he said.
Still, Branscomb said the party has faith in Griffin.
“Based on discussions, we believe that he took every step to correct the situation,” Branscomb said. “He later became a police officer after full background checks, which shows that he does have exemplary qualifications.”
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached directly at 748-2928, or email@example.com.
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