Beeson to be sworn in Jan. 6 | PostIndependent.com
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Beeson to be sworn in Jan. 6

Other questions still linger over the transition to a new district attorney, but one has been answered: DA-elect Martin Beeson will take office Jan. 6.Both Beeson and Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Mildred Alsdorf said Tuesday the Secretary of State’s Office has told them that is the date the state will certify results of the Dec. 13 recall election. In that election, voters ousted Colleen Truden and picked Beeson to replace her. But she remains in office until the state certifies the election.Jan. 6 was the date the state had first projected for certifying the election. However, it later raised the possibility of acting sooner if the three counties in the 9th Judicial District got their final results in sooner than their Jan. 3 deadline.Rio Blanco County, which had a small turnout, certified its results shortly after the election. Pitkin County finished its canvassing of votes last week, and Garfield County did its canvassing Tuesday. But Alsdorf said the state has decided against making the results official early.”They said today that they’ve been telling everybody the 6th so they would stick with it,” Alsdorf said.A Secretary of State spokesperson could not be reached to verify the date, but Beeson said an office representative had told him Jan. 6 would be the transition date.He’s expecting the certification to occur first thing in the morning. Beeson is trying to arrange to have Thomas Craven, chief judge of the 9th Judicial District, swear him in the same morning at the Garfield County Courthouse.Meanwhile, other transition questions remain. Among them is when, and perhaps if, Truden and Beeson will talk.Two weeks after the election, the two have yet to speak in person. Beeson said he has left Truden three phone messages and gotten one in return, as well as a letter from her asking what they need to talk about and what he needs access to in order to bring about a smooth transition. He has written her in response.”I hope to hear back from her soon. … I would like to be able to sit down with her in the office and go over some of the things we need to go over,” he said.Beeson has heard Truden may be out of town. She couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday but a representative in her office said she had been in earlier in the day.Beeson said he needs to know where records are kept “and that sort of thing, to be able to conduct the business of the district attorney’s office from the get-go.”Another question is who will join Beeson’s staff. Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter has voiced concern that the transition is being hampered because deputy DAs don’t know whether they will be kept on by Beeson. But Beeson said Tuesday he has spoken to several employees.”I don’t know who Vince is referring to and I don’t care. … We’re moving forward. I’m making progress. I’ve had lots of conversations with people,” he said.Beeson has said he expects to announce staffing decisions later.On other matters, Beeson said he thinks the DA’s Office did what was in the best interests of the case in reaching a plea bargain deal with Eric Stoneman last week.”That’s good enough for me,” said Beeson.Stoneman, 14, shot and killed 9-year-old Taylor DeMarco in Battlement Mesa this summer. Some child advocates criticized Truden for charging him as an adult with first-degree murder, which could have put him in prison for life. Prosecutors then negotiated a plea bargain that will put him behind bars for 10 years, although DeMarco’s father, Bill, said that was too lenient.Beeson had declined to question the DA Office’s handling of the case during the recall campaign, and also was reserved Tuesday in his judgment of its disposition.”I don’t need to be comfortable or uncomfortable with it. It has been resolved. I’m not going to second-guess or criticize what has been done,” he said.He said he will be reviewing other cases to see if plea bargain offers need to be modified. He also hopes to address what he understands to be a backlog of cases left by Truden. He said this backlog is resulting in a slowdown in the handling of civil cases because criminal ones take priority.Truden has denied the existence of any backlog.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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