14 December 2005

Colleen Truden Recalled

Colleen Truden, controversial Republican District Attorney for the 9th Judicial District, which includes Aspen, has been recalled. Martin Beeson, a former attorney in the office who left under her tenure, was elected to replace her.

Pitkin County voters cast 2,039 votes for recall and 112 against. In Rio Blanco County, where Truden's troubles rarely made headlines, 169 voters said she should be recalled and 278 voted no. . . .

Truden, a former municipal judge with 23 years' experience as an attorney but no experience as a prosecutor, drew fire early in her tenure for being dishonest with other public officials about hiring her husband to work on the computer system in the district attorney's office. She was accused of spending most of her budget in her first several months in office and of being too inexperienced to handle prosecutions. . . .

Former Truden Deputy Attorney Katie Steers filed an ethics complaint with the attorney-oversight arm of the Colorado Supreme Court alleging Truden illegally let unlicensed attorneys practice without supervision and that she unethically would give better deals to defendants whose attorneys had not publicly criticized her office or been involved in the recall.

The former allegation was dismissed. The latter is still under investigation.

Former Deputy Attorney Tony Hershey has filed a civil suit against Truden claiming that she created a hostile work environment that made it impossible for him to continue in his job. . . .

No Colorado district attorney had faced a recall vote since 1978, when former Pueblo District Attorney Joe Losavio survived a recall election.

While I have serious issues with the way the initiative and referendum process works in Colorado, the recall process has generally worked well to solve serious problems in local government.

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