DENVER — Defense attorneys for Robin Niceta, the onetime partner of former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, were heard in open court Thursday morning informing the judge that Niceta is potentially incompetent to stand trial because of a brain tumor and cancer diagnosis.
Niceta, a former social worker in Arapahoe County, is accused of filing a false child abuse complaint against Aurora City Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky after the councilwoman criticized Wilson, who was at the time still Aurora's police chief, during a radio interview.
After asking to approach the judge’s bench, Niceta’s attorneys on Thursday told the judge she is unfit for trial due to her cognitive abilities and claimed there was no way for her to regain competency.
Following the hearing, Jurinsky questioned the validity of the claims about Niceta’s medical condition.
“I have a lot of questions and I have a lot of concerns,” Jurinsky said.
Niceta appeared in court virtually Thursday morning, appearing unable to speak or raise her hand at the judge’s request.
“I believe Robin is a master manipulator. I think she's been doing this for a long time, hurting people, destroying families, and destroying lives. And I think this is just the first time that she got caught,” Jurinsky said. “I think this is completely made up.”
Jurinsky said she has not seen any evidence proving Niceta’s medical condition, and motions filed with the court regarding her competency have not yet been made public.
“Whatever she has going on with her medical condition, that's called karma. I'm seeking justice. There's a difference. I want justice. Karma will do its job,” the councilwoman said.
Niceta was charged last year with a felony for attempting to influence a public servant and a misdemeanor for making a false child abuse report. She pleaded not guilty in December of last year.
In January, Niceta was ordered to pay Jurinsky $3 million in damages in a civil case related to the false-claim allegation.
The next motions hearing in the case was scheduled for May 18, but it’s unlikely that hearing will happen if Niceta is ruled unfit for trial.
The Denver District Attorney's Office is serving as the special prosecutor in this case and a spokeswoman said in an email that the DA's office is unable to comment or answers questions because the case is now before the courts and doing so would jeopardize the defendant's right to a fair trial.
Back in September of 2022, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) conducted an independent review of Niceta's work with Arapahoe County.
That review found that the quality of the work assigned to her was inadequate but recommended “an additional layer of review” to dig more deeply into her time at the county Department of Human Services.
The independent review, which came after Jurinsky called on Arapahoe County to review every case Niceta oversaw at the county DHS, did not identify “additional unresolved child safety concerns” as a result of the evaluation, CDHS officials wrote.
Niceta and the county DHS, however, now face a class action lawsuit and federal complaint, which focuses on the alleged separation or attempted separation of children from their parents or caregivers by ACDHS.