Big Win for Defense in San Bernardino County Colonies Case

Judge Michael A. Smith dismissed conspiracy charges against all four defendants in the Colonies Partners LP case citing the expiration of the statute of limitations. Jeff Burum, Paul Baine, Jim Erwin and Mark Kirk are accused of conspiring to approve a $102 million settlement between San Bernardino County and Burums investment group, Colonies in November 2006.

Conspiracy carries a three-year statute of limitations and the defense successfully argued that the alleged conspiracy was known in 2006, more than three-years prior to the filing of a criminal complaint. The defendants are currently pending other criminal charges that Judge Smith is also considering dismissing. The judge needed time to make an informed and accurate decision and continued the case one day.

On Thursday, Judge Smith indicated he was leaning toward dismissing another 12 felony counts against the defendants because of statue of limitation issues. The judge gave both the San Bernardino County District Attorneys Office and The California Department of Justice attorneys additional time to argue why he should not dismiss the charges and he is taking their argument under submission.

The charges Judge Smith is currently considering dismissing are misappropriation of public funds, bribery and conflict of interest. If those charges are dismissed, the entire case against Burum will be dismissed. However, if the court allows the prosecutors to amend their complaint, it may prevent a dismissal.

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