New head of Aspen DA Office announced | PostIndependent.com

New head of Aspen DA Office announced

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
Aspen Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” He may have lost the race to become the next mayor of Snowmass Village, but Arnold P. Mordkin rebounded swiftly Thursday when he was tabbed to head the District Attorney’s Office in Aspen.

“The opportunity presented itself … and the time was right,” said Mordkin, a Snowmass Village-based defense attorney with a penchant for cowboy hats. “Isn’t it wonderful to be able to do this? It’s exciting.”

Mordkin, 71, will begin his new job Nov. 21, as special trial deputy for the 9th Judicial District. He will primarily handle Pitkin County felony cases in Aspen, said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney in a statement late Thursday afternoon.

Cheney could not be reached for additional comment. Mordkin effectively fills the role vacated by District Court Judge Gail Nichols, who formerly held the position of deputy district attorney in Aspen.

Nichols was sworn in as a judge in July. Kevin Stephenson, who was originally hired to take over for Nichols in May, was forced to step down shortly thereafter because he had not been admitted to the Colorado Bar Association.

Mordkin, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., brings a wealth of experience with him to the new role. He was admitted to the California Bar Association in 1963, a few months after he graduated from the University of Southern California’s law school in 1962.

While Mordkin has been primarily noted for his private defense practice, he did serve as an Orange County municipal court judge in 1978-79.

Mordkin, who was admitted to the Colorado Bar Association in 1996 and serves as a Snowmass Village councilman, said he was approached about filling the felony prosecutor position in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 general election.

He said after hashing out the terms of an agreement he formally accepted the offer Wednesday.

“We certainly didn’t want to do anything before the election,” said Mordkin on the job process.

As a result of his new position, Mordkin said he must end his private practice no later than “midnight Nov. 20.”

He is not taking any more cases, adding that he plans to wrap up as many as possible before switching sides. One of those cases involves Ryan Welgos of Aspen. He was arrested June 19 by federal authorities for his alleged role in a local heroin network.


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