If your a government ruler or cop those laws that make marijuana and other drugs illegal don't really apply to you or your family!!!! Ask Tempe Councilwoman Barb Carter and her son Colby Carter about his "get out of jail card" issued by top Tempe cop Ralph Tranter
Letter by chief of police is reviewed Tempe launches an investigation
Sarah Muench, Jahna Berry and Katie Nelson The Arizona Republic Mar. 21, 2006 12:00 AM
The city of Tempe is investigating a letter written by Police Chief Ralph Tranter that recommended probation for a City Council member's son who was arrested on drug charges.
Tranter said no one asked him to write the letter about Councilwoman Barb Carter's son. It was not written on city letterhead and carried only his name, not his title.
"I have written others like it, although not very often. I do it as a citizen who is familiar with situations like these. There was no intent to intervene in the (police) investigation," Tranter said.
"After 30 years of policing, I understand there are other factors that need to be considered," he continued.
Colby Carter, 31, was arrested March 18, 2005, on suspicion of five felony counts involving growing and possessing marijuana. He faced up to three years in prison, according to his plea agreement, but was sentenced to two years probation, four months work furlough and the minimum of 240 hours of community service.
"Colby has been told that if he should receive consideration for probation, any future indiscretions will be dealt with harshly by his family, supporters and the court," Tranter wrote in the 2005 letter prior to Carter's sentencing.
"The single greatest factor supporting future success for Colby is the support he has from his parents, Wade and Barb Carter. The Carters are long-standing Tempe residents who have contributed to our community in many ways."
City employees who brought the letter to City Manager Will Manley's attention in late November spurred the probe. It should be completed by the end of the week, Manley said.
The city spent $15,000 on an outside attorney to look into the chief's action.
Up to 10 people, including city personnel, were interviewed.
"It's premature to talk about (possible) policy violations," Manley said on Monday.
Barb Carter said she never asked the chief to get involved in her son's case.
"I did not call. Colby did not ask him. His defense attorney did not ask him," said the councilwoman, who was elected in 2000.
She said Tranter offered, after saying he was impressed by the way that she and her husband helped their son turn his life around.
"He said 'If you would like me to, I would be happy to write a character letter for Colby,' " she recalled.
Tempe police reports show a neighbor who lives in Colby Carter's central Tempe neighborhood called police, prompting an investigation.
Police served a search warrant several months later, arresting Carter as he left his house. Investigators found paraphernalia, growing materials, marijuana seeds and 19 plants in the home.
Carter is a skate park designer for Site Design Group, Inc., a Tempe-based firm that has designed more than 60 skate parks worldwide.
Staff reporter Ty Young contributed to this article.
Tempes top cop under scrutiny By Garin Groff, Tribune March 21, 2006
Tempe is investigating its police chief for writing a letter intended to help a councilwomans son defend himself for growing marijuana.
Chief Ralph Tranters letter contained information a defense attorney could use and it recommended a sentence in the conviction of Colby Carter, City Manager Will Manley said Monday.
Carter, 31, is the son of Councilwoman Barb Carter. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to possessing marijuana for sale, production of marijuana and three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
Manley opened the investigation late last year when a city employee gave him a photocopy of Tranters letter. It wasnt on city stationery, but its contents and the people involved caused Manley to commission an outside investigation. A private law firm is looking into the matter so no city employees are involved.
We wanted it to be completely independent, Manley said.
The letter, which Manley would not release, was written in October and addressed To whom it may concern, Manley said.
It was intended for the use of the defendant and his attorney, Manley said.
Tranter did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The city would not disclose other information about the letter Monday. Manley said he expects to release it as part of the investigation, which should be complete this week.
The city is exploring why Tranter wrote the letter and how another city employee obtained it. The investigation has led to the questioning of five to 10 city employees, said Manley, who characterized it as no more than a personnel investigation.
Barb Carter is not a focus of the inquiry, Marlene Pontrelli, city attorney, said.
There is no additional need to do any investigation into any other persons beyond this investigation, Pontrelli said.
Barb Carter said Tranter didnt try to influence the investigation, noting his letter came six months after the report was filed.
I didnt ask Ralph to write a letter. He volunteered after he had heard that my son had turned his life around, Barb Carter wrote in a statement. Ralph wanted to support us as a family.
Tempe police searched Colby Carters home March 18, 2005. They found 18 indoor marijuana plants and an extensive hydroponics system, according to court records. Along with the 18-inch plants, police found seeds in plastic bags, price sheets with costs for different varieties and a ledger with four names and dollar amounts.
Police questioned Colby Carter about some marijuana found in a plastic bag, according to court records.
The defendant said it was just leaves, and it was for cooking, court documents stated.
Colby Carter told police this was the first time hed grown marijuana, but police noted he was arrested in 1996 for attempted production of marijuana in Flagstaff.
Police determined Colby Carter had 2.68 pounds of marijuana, but his attorney argued the weight should be less because police weighed it before it had dried.
Colby Carter is professional skateboarder who has been involved with the development of more than 60 municipal skate parks around the world, according to the Web site of his employer.
Contact Garin Groff by email, or phone (480) 898-6554