Denver Juror who Lied to Get out of Duty Arrested after Bragging about it Months Later on Talk Radio
March 22, 2012
Her hair hung askew in curlers. Her shoes and reindeer socks mismatched. Heavy makeup was smeared on her face.
Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield — presiding over jury selection June 28 — quickly dismissed the woman, who explained in disjointed speech, “I broke out of domestic violence in the military. And I have a lot of repercussions. One is post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Now Juror No. 4361 — published author and Denver cosmetologist Susan Cole — faces felony charges after allegedly bragging months later on a radio program that she fabricated the elaborate ruse to duck jury duty.
Turns out, Judge Mansfield was listening.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office today charged Cole, 57, with perjury and attempting to influence a public servant, both Class 4 felonies.
Denver Jury Commissioner LeAnna Mosher said wacky behavior or dress isn’t unusual in a jury pool, though she “had to laugh” at the way Cole was found out.
“I say congrats to the judge,” Mosher said. “I’m sure jury duty is very scary for a lot of people, or they’re too busy. Our justice system wouldn’t work if our jurors didn’t show up. It’s important.”
An affidavit for Cole’s arrest details how she allegedly weaved her fiction and how it quickly unraveled.
In June, Cole wrongly believed her cousin had been involved in a fatal motorcycle accident, an “emotionally draining” experience that left her unprepared to serve on a jury the next day, according to the affidavit.
When she appeared in court June 28, Cole stood out among other jurors.
“Her makeup looked like something you would wear during a theater performance,” Kelli Wessels, who was the court reporter that day, recalled in a statement to investigators. “When the judge asked the entire panel if anyone had a mental illness, (Cole) stated she had difficulties getting ready in the morning, which was apparent to me by the way she was dressed.”
Cole told Mansfield she had lived on the streets, got confused in the mornings and didn’t “want to emotionally go through this,” according to court transcripts. She was excused.
Months later, on the evening of Oct. 17, Mansfield was listening to callers describe avoiding jury duty on 850-KOA’s Dave Logan Show and heard a familiar tale.
A woman identifying herself as “Char from Denver” related how she’d shown up to court disheveled in an attempt to appear mentally ill, according to the affidavit.
“Char went on to describe how she shared this experience with clients at her hair styling business, and that they all found the story amusing,” according to the affidavit written by an investigator for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
It didn’t take investigators long to discover “Char from Denver” was Cole, who admitted she used “Char Cole” as her pen name.
Her book, “Seven Initiations with El-Way’s Secrets” apparently has nothing to do with the famed Broncos star. Instead, it promises to “renew your spiritual outlook and help you deal with difficult relationships and situations” through understanding passages from the books of Genesis and Revelations, according to Amazon.com.
Cole offered investigators a copy of the book, which details her battle with domestic abuse, as proof of her life story and mental illness.
What she couldn’t produce, according to the affidavit, was proof she’d been diagnosed with PTSD.
“It moves from just being a serious civic responsibility to a potential criminal matter because potential jurors have taken an oath to answer questions from the judge and attorneys truthfully,” said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.