Can You Guess What This Person Was Charged With?

Justin A. ColbertHint: Justin A. Colbert, 23, of Nebraska allegedly thought that he had a simple way to get a friend out of jail, but forgot that fax machines leave transmission information.

Colbert has pleaded not guilty to a charge of public records violations. He is accused of faxing a fake court memo to a jail to secure the release a friend.  The fax was meant to look like an official notice from the Lancaster County Court staff that a bond payment of $25,000 had been paid pursuant to a weapons charge.  However the courts were closed on Saturday, which appears to have raised suspicions.  Then there was the fact that it was sent from a web service and using an email that did not belong to the county.

The email used on the fax belonged to Colbert, who had served time with the prisoner.

What is interesting is that this is just a misdemeanor offense.  Colbert was already in jail on a different charge.

If you are unfamiliar with this criminal offense, here is the state provision from Chapter 28, Section 911:

Abuse of public records; penalty; public record, defined.

(1) A person commits abuse of public records, if:

(a) He knowingly makes a false entry in or falsely alters any public record; or

(b) Knowing he lacks the authority to do so, he intentionally destroys, mutilates, conceals, removes, or impairs the availability of any public record; or

(c) Knowing he lacks the authority to retain the record, he refuses to deliver up a public record in his possession upon proper request of any person lawfully entitled to receive such record; or

(d) He makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing, knowing it to be false, and with the intention that it be taken as a genuine part of the public record.

(2) As used in this section, the term public record includes all official books, papers, or records created, received, or used by or in any governmental office or agency.

(3) Abuse of public records is a Class II misdemeanor.

14 thoughts on “Can You Guess What This Person Was Charged With?

  1. I would think there could be an inchoate charge relating to Escape. Yet with this records act violation it appears to be a solid charge.

  2. “…that a bond payment of $25,000 had been paid pursuant to a weapons charge…”

    Sounds to me like the cops and the judge both belong in jail for the violation of the prisoners
    inalienable rights. The second amendment clearly says “shall not be infringed” and doing
    so is a crime.

  3. Yeah. Why was he charged with a crime to begin with. I mean the original crime of weapons violation? We have the right to arm bears or to bear arms.
    What state did this happen in?

  4. That’s a felony in the Golden Bear State:

    PC sec. 115. (a) Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.

    .

    • Steve – I know I am splitting hairs here, but is sending a fax a forged document? The fax is only a poor duplicate of the original, so?

      • In this state, a facsimile transmission is a duplicate of a court order and generally able to be relied upon and filed in any sheriff’s office, let alone in the courthouse. (In fact, the federal court already requires electronic filing. The state is almost there – give it another few years.)

        It used to be that courts needed the original document under the traditional “best evidence rule,” but that rule was replaced in this state’s evidence code in 1999, allowing secondary evidence like copies. It’d be interesting to research which states still require the original document. I bet there are still one or two states still subscribing to that antiquated rule.

        • Steve – if the courts are requiring the original mortgage documents for foreclosures, then how can they settle for electronic filing? What is real any more?

          • If you’re thinking of the mortgage defaults from about 2009 through about 2012, the county recorder’s office, not the court, wherein the real property is located was the problem for the banks, and that’s why Wells Fargo Mortgage was caught red-handed paying people minimum wage to forge tens of thousands of security instruments that had never been recorded and thus were liens never been placed in line so that Wells Fargo enforce them.

            What is real anymore? Scruples, but that’s about it.

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