Denver man cleared in prostitution sting; car still impounded

By Julie Hayden|Fox31

DENVER — Robin McAnally was arrested in a reverse “john” sting and accused of soliciting for prostitution. From the beginning, he insisted it wasn’t true.

A Denver jury believed him and took just ten minutes to find him not guilty.

McAnally says that was bad enough, but the City of Denver seized his work truck and impounded it, under the city’s nuisance abatement ordinance. (See ordinance definition below)

The City of Denver will not release it unless he pays more than $5,000 in impound and other fees.

“I’m not understanding any of this,” he said. “I go all the way and spend money for a lawyer and then I get found not guilty by a jury and they’re still telling me you’re going to have to come up with more money because we’re not going to give your truck back to you.”

He says his 1991 GMC truck isn’t worth $5,000, and he doesn’t have that kind of cash. He says fairness would be for the city to acknowledge he didn’t do anything wrong, he should be able to get his truck out of impound without having to pay any charges.

McAnally was told it doesn’t matter that he was cleared in the criminal case, the truck impound is a civil matter. And unless he co;mes up with the money, the city will sell his truck at auction and keep the money for itself.

And in the meantime, he would still face a financial judgment filed by the city against him. “I’m not even asking for an ‘I’m sorry that we messed with your life.’ Just give me my truck back. I’m not rich, I can’t go buy another truck,” said McAnally.“I’m just a little guy out there working hard every day of my life.”

FOX31 News was not able to get hold of the City Attorney handling the case, but McAnally’s lawyer says he sees this happen all the time. He says the city is unfairly seizing vehicles, even though a person is cleared of a crime, and making them pay thousands of dollars to get their vehicles back.

Editors Note: If you believe it can’t happen you, trust me it can. Read this ordinance carefully and keep it mind:

District 3 Station
Nuisance Abatement

Public Nuisance Abatement Unit
District One
1311 West 46th Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80211

Phone: 720-913-0548
Fax: 720-913-0558

Denver’s Nuisance Abatement Law

Tired of “that one house” on your block where your peace of mind is always challenged?

The Nuisance Abatement Law may be the answer.

The Nuisance Abatement Unit is part of the Denver Police Department and works with the Citv Attorney’s Office and D.A.’s Office to identify, abate, deter, and prevent the recurrence of public nuisances within the City of Denver. The Unit can accomplish this by filing for seizure of property & cars, and other court orders to abate the problem.

What is a “Public Nuisance?”

Under the Nuisance Abatement law, a public nuisance is not a trashy yard or neglected home (see the article titled Neighborhood Inspection Services). A public nuisance is any real property or vehicle where criminal activity occurs. The activity can include drug violations, gambling, sex offenses, weapon offenses, gang activity, noise offenses, and disturbing the peace.

How is the law applied?

The abatement law can be applied by first reporting criminal activity and insisting on signing a complaint (see the article titled Calling 9-1-1). Once this occurs, a file can be started to document activity concerning the property or vehicle.

Police /Citizen Cooperation

After calling the police dispatcher, make a note to yourself concerning the date, time, and circumstances. Leave a message for your Neighborhood Police Officer to contact you. Your NPO’s will then make arrangements to meet with you and your neighbors. During this meeting, the NPO’s will ask you or information concerning the problem address or car. The NPO’s will provide you with detailed information about the Nuisance Abatement Law and how everyone in your neighborhood can work together, with the police department, to eliminate the problem.

The NPO’s have had some success by directly contacting the problem address. The NPO’s make the occupants aware of the Nuisance Abatement Law and educate them about the consequences of future violations. The NPO’s explain to the occupants, and the landlord if applicable, that the neighborhood is tired of the problem and willing to assist the police. This simple tactic has often solved the problem before future steps are required in applying the law.

Your Neighborhood Police Officers are committed to supporting law abiding citizens in regaining neighborhoods. We will encourage everyone on your block to come together in a show of solidarity, support, and purpose. In turn, we need you to report criminal activity and to sign a complaint when necessary.