03 October 2005

Aspen DA to Face Recall Election.

It's official and it couldn't happen to a nicer person:

Enough valid signatures have been gathered to trigger the first recall vote of a Colorado district attorney in nearly 30 years.

State election officials said Thursday they have certified 6,626 of the 9,032 signatures submitted in a recall drive targeting 9th Judicial District Attorney Colleen Truden, the top prosecutor for Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties.

. . .

That's 1,171 more than the 5,455 names required to force a vote.

. . .

Truden, who has never been a criminal prosecutor but emphasized to voters her management and administrative skills, has been assailed by critics for her performance in precisely those areas.

Seven prosecutors have quit since she was sworn in Jan. 11.

The two most recent deputy district attorneys to quit were her own hires. Several who have left cited a hostile work environment and were offended when they were escorted from their offices short of their planned final workdays.

. . .

No district attorney has ever been recalled in Colorado. The only attempted recall to go to voters was a bid to oust Pueblo District Attorney Joe Losavio in 1978. He survived that vote.

Truden topped her Republican primary opponent, Lawson Wills, 2,537 to 2,081. And because she had no opponent in the Nov. 2 general election - where she garnered 21,819 votes - the primary vote three months earlier ensured the job was hers.

Truden has done just about everything one could possibly do wrong in the office of District Attorney. She has alienated almost the entire staff, including almost all prosecutors with experience trying felonies. She has let serious criminals go free due to her office's incompetence. She has spent far more than her office's budget should permit on frivilous and self-indulgent expenses, including an expense to pay her husband for consulting work that she lied to the county commissioners who provide funds for her office about. She is prosecuting a fourteen year old kid who killed another kid in a confused gun incident for 1st degree murder.

Voter and candidate apathy destroys democracy. But, in this case, a recall is well justified and will likely prevail.

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