DA bids constituents farewell | PostIndependent.com

DA bids constituents farewell

To the people of the 9th Judicial District,Jan. 10 marks the end of my tenure as your district attorney. At this time it is fitting to publicly thank the people who contributed to the many accomplishments of the DA’s office during the past eight years. The successes of the office are the results of the combined efforts of many people, and not just single individuals. When I took office I promised to raise the standards of the district attorney’s office. During the past eight years we implemented charging standards adopted by the National District Attorney’s Association. We have filed cases supported by sufficient evidence to secure just convictions and screened out cases that do not warrant court time. We have consistently applied the same standards for charging and plea disposition to every person who comes before us, regardless of status.We successfully tried three first-degree murder cases, two in the Ninth and one in the 5th Judicial District, where we were appointed special prosecutors. We won convictions in all three trials. Prior to this, there had not been a conviction for first-degree murder at trial in the 9th Judicial District for over 20 years. All three cases involved domestic violence, an issue that has been a priority in this office, and emphasizes the importance of eliminating domestic violence.DUI arrests plummeted districtwide by 23 percent, suggesting that aggressive DUI enforcement and prosecution had a significant impact on drunken driving.Our prosecutors have acted ethically and responsibly during my term. Although it is not uncommon for prosecutors to have complaints filed against them, the Attorney Regulation Counsel has dismissed every complaint filed against any prosecutor in my office.During my term, we strengthened our Victim Witness Program. Thanks to our dedicated victim/witness assistants and prosecutors, we have maintained compliance with the victim’s rights laws and have never had a formal complaint filed against us by a victim of crime in the 9th Judicial District.I thank the people who have worked by my side in the DA’s office, particularly Lawson Wills, Gretchen Larson, Jim Leuthauser, Jim Wilson, Beth Bascom, Sheila Onsgard and Judy Martin. While most of my co-workers have been consummate professionals over the years, those in particular have consistently been the “extra-milers.” I thank these excellent investigators in the district for outstanding work and helping us build prosecutable cases: Beth Bascom, Ed Piccolo, and Phil Walter from the district attorney’s office; J.R. Boulton and Bill Jones from Rifle PD; David Gruys from the Glenwood Springs PD; Bill Middleton from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office; Matt Gardner from the Carbondale Police Department; Ron Ryan from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department; and Jim Crowley and Brian Heeney from the Aspen Police Department. They are all examples of excellence in their profession.Thanks to Bob Stark, Warren Humble, and Guy Meyer for helping us establish a domestic violence diversion program. Because of their efforts and good screening from the deputy district attorneys, attendees of the diversion program are less likely to reoffend than those who are required to attend the state-mandated program.I thank our judges and court clerks, reporters, interpreters, community corrections staff, the probation department, law enforcement, and the dedicated people at Youth Zone, Response, the Advocate Safehouse Project, and social services.Mostly I thank the people of Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco Counties for the privilege of serving as their District Attorney for the past eight years. It has been a great honor and an experience I will fondly remember.Finally, I want to wish the newly elected district attorney, Colleen Truden, and her staff, the best of luck. I am hopeful she will build on the successes of my office and those prosecutors who preceded me. Mac Myers is district attorney for the 9th Judicial District

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