Larry Manzanares – Rest In Peace

God bless Larry Manzanares. May he rest in peace.

Most of us know the story. Larry Manzanares, Harvard grad, ex-Denver County and District Court Judge, ex-Denver City Attorney, fatally shot himself Friday, under a bridge in Eisenhower Park in South Denver. Manzanares committed suicide a short time after he was advised of the totality of charges against him. Additional revelations with regard to Manzanares’s alleged misdeeds (or stupidity) included the publicly disclosed fact that substantial pornography had been discovered (and had attempted to be erased) on the allegedly stolen laptop that remains the linchpin of this story.

Truth telling is that component of ethical behavior that establishes the extent to which one is perceived to possess integrity. Lots of folks saw Manzanares as a bastion of integrity. Push, however, came to shove, and, in the end, it is my belief that that painful secret in the belly of Manzanares–that his personal integrity had been compromised by no one except himself–became the voracious hydra with which he could not deal.

To be trite: The truth will set you free. That’s one reason why I blog. Over a thousand entries since I began posting back in June of 2004, both on this site and over at the Blogspot site, have pretty much laid me bare. It feels good to let it out.

The ultimate tragedy, of course, is the loss to the family. Dare I wonder if Larry Manzanares considered the consequences his family would suffer–lightly mentioning the loss of whatever life insurance may have been forthcoming if the death had been “natural”–by his selfish, yes, selfish act?

Then comes the predictable retribution against the media for exposing, in lurid detail, the facts of the Manzanares case. The media killed Larry Manzanares. Nope. Don’t think so. What killed Manzanares was his shame.

Yes, and then comes the also predictable demagoguery from Latino sources who, never at a loss to raise the specter of ethnicity, declare–as did Rosemary Rodriguez, former Denver city councilperson and now U.S. Election Assistance commissioner–“It’s a bad time to be a Hispanic in trouble in this city.”

Tina Griego, columnist for the Rocky notes in a piece, June 25th: “I am taken aback when a few at the gathering say they believe the decision was made to enlarge Manzanares’ mug shot on the front page because he was Latino. They argue the paper has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of bias against Latinos in its coverage. The message behind that large photo, one of the women argues, in yeah, he might have gone to Harvard and become a judge, but he was a Mexican and bad from the get-go…”

To Griego’s credit, she observes: “But this is not an ethnic story. It is a human one. Manzanares was a husband and a father. He was a friend and colleague to many. He was a judge and community leader. It is profoundly sad that, in the end, his vision tunneled to a single, irrevocable decision.”

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!”


And, comes the time when one understands they have, indeed, not been true to themselves, much less their friends, much less their family, the fix requires courage, integrity, humility. Suicide does not encompass courage, integrity, humility.

Enough said.

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7 Responses to Larry Manzanares – Rest In Peace

  1. Suz at Large says:

    Good points, George. As you may have noticed, I’ve blogged a little about this but haven’t jumped onto the “he got screwed over ’cause he was Latino” bandwagon.

    That said, I was taken aback and am still a bit angered by what I believe to be grandstanding and overreaching by the Jeffco District Attorney.

    Yes, although the stolen laptop was not hugely valuable, its alleged theft by a person holding a judgeship takes the case out of the ordinary. That said, I can’t get all excited because there was porn on it or even that he tried to delete that.

    And even the Jeffco DA didn’t claim the porn was illegal. The most they said was they had sent “some” images to the center for exploited children – which I believe means that the pictures may have shown one or more persons who MIGHT have been under age 18.

    I’m sure that if there was real kiddie porn there, Mr. Personal Press Conference and 80 Page Affidavit, aka Scott Storey, would have said so – at length – and filed the appropriate charges. Which he didn’t.

    Now that you’ve quoted poetry, I’m reminded of a favorite Billy Joel song, The Stranger. Think I’ll blog that too.

    I am so sorry that Larry M – who I had only met once or twice – could not find a way to work through the consequences of his actions in this life. Proves once again that we can never truly know all the layers of others, what’s behind the facade.

  2. Pingback: The Stranger « Suz at Large

  3. doog says:

    There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.
    -Daniel Webster

    and thus he admits his crime.

    I pity him, having to face his ancestors and say ‘I ran away.’

    Such a lofty height, such a smoking crater.

    Moderation does seem to recommend itself.

  4. Lexipro Annie - Denver says:

    I’m so sorry about Judge Manzanares’ death. He was such a wonderful guy. I worked with him years ago, and have appeared in front of him when he was in courtroom 5. He was always fair and even handed.
    I will say that I do not think that having a guy like John Ventura as the ex-husband and (biological) father of the two kids could have helped his state of mind. In fact, I wouldnt be surprised if Ventura had more to do with this than we’re hearing.

  5. John says:

    Thanks, George, for the thoughful post regarding Manzanares. I have to disagree on one point, though. I do think there is an element of courage involved in taking one’s own life. I have some personal experience with it and NEED to believe that my brother was courageous. He put himself out of his pain of living and I can’t begrudge him for that.

    Likewise, Judge Manzanares has put himself out of his pain and put the whole matter bed. Who can relate to having their mugshot sprayed across a sleazy tabloid? Or, the humiliation of that court appearance? Or, the over-the-top findings of that publicity whore Jeffco DA? An easy and efficient and courageous way to go. And, the only way completely wipe out one’s memories of one’s life.

    Let those who want to live, live. I’ll not judge those who choose for whatever reasons not to live. Family, friends and acquaintances will get over it and be stronger for it. For the most part.

    Requiescat In Pacem.

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