Littleton fires judge who issued arrest warrant for overdue DVD

4:37 PM, Apr 7, 2010   |    comments
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After the Littleton City Council voted to fire longtime Municipal Judge James Kimmel, 9NEWS spoke exclusively with Kimmel.

At Tuesday's city council meeting, members said they had lost confidence in Kimmel's ability to serve as a municipal court judge.

In a unanimous vote, the council voted to remove him from the bench.

They say it was in part because he issued an arrest warrant to a teen for an overdue library DVD.

Kimmel told 9NEWS he does not regret issuing the warrant because the city loses thousands of dollars a year in unreturned library materials.

"I think that if people understand their ramifications for not returning materials, they will return them, and I was trying to keep the city from having further losses," Kimmel said.

Library records show the teen actually returned the DVD before the summons was delivered.

Kimmel says he did not know that.

"It [the library records] should've been on my desk and it wasn't," he said.

The city council says the DVD case is not the only cause for his termination.

"When we went through and investigated, we found 71 outstanding warrants that had been issued for people that probably didn't know they had warrants out on them," Littleton Mayor Doug Clark said.

"I've never enjoyed arresting people or issuing warrants, that's always been one of my main concerns that warrants were not vacated or improperly issued," Kimmel said.

Council members say they offered Kimmel a chance to resign and a severance package. Kimmel says he refused to sign because the settlement would have prevented him from discussing why he left his job.

"If all of a sudden you're on the bench for 30 years and you're gone the next day and you can't tell why, everyone speculates it really is much more serious than it was," Kimmel said.

Kimmel is angry, but says he will not fight to get his job back. He says he plans to go back to being a private attorney.

9NEWS also spoke with the teen who did not return the DVD. He told 9NEWS he thinks Kimmel is a good man and he says he hates to see him loose his job over this.

The city says they will fill the judge's position in the next couple of weeks.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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