Candidate questionnaire for First Judicial District DA primary candidates

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/14/20

There are two Democrats on the June 2020 primary ballot, to run for the office of District Attorney, representing Jefferson and Gilpin countines. Current Republican DA Pete Weir is term limited. The …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2019-2020, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Candidate questionnaire for First Judicial District DA primary candidates

Posted

There are two Democrats on the June 2020 primary ballot, to run for the office of District Attorney, representing Jefferson and Gilpin countines.

Current Republican DA Pete Weir is term limited.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican candidate Matthew Durkin in the November 2020 General Election.

Voters can return their ballots by mail, but the ballot must be received, not post-dated, by June 30. Drop box locations across the county are open now, for in-person delivery. On June 22 in-person voting centers will also be opened, and will remain open until Election Day, June 30 at 7 p.m.

Go to VoteJeffco.com for more information.

Alexis King

What makes you the best choice for this office?

My direct experience serving this community as a Deputy District Attorney gives me the leadership experience to run this office effectively. In that work, I have helped create real, lasting reform: from diversion programs to keep children out of the system to limiting the use of cash bonds. We can and must do more to eliminate systemic inequities.

What single issue would be at the top of your agenda?

We must honor, prevent and redress victimization and survivorship through a transparent, unbiased and fair system that also upholds the rights of those charged. As district attorney, I will work to acknowledge the harm communities of color and other vulnerable populations have experienced through systemic failures to respect citizens' rights. It's a system that has favored punitive measures over interventions that truly protect safe and healthy futures for all in the community. The single issue and key mission of my office will be transparency and accountability.

What must you accomplish for you to consider your term a success?

Success will be implementing reforms that increase transparency and accountability in our justice system. l will implement evidence-based bond practices and sentencing alternatives for individuals who show the ability to rehabilitate. Further, my office use data collection on use of force and community conversations to help address inequities in the system with those most impacted by our decision-making. I am the only Democrat running who has served in this community and has a track record of bringing people to the table to make law enforcement policies work better.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how you think the Jeffco district attorney should approach their work?

The office will be facing significant budget cuts. It is imperative that we focus on hiring and retaining attorneys who can ethically prosecute violent offenders who are a threat to the community. Since I left the office in 2017 over 20 experienced attorneys have followed, leaving a dearth of experience. I am the only Democrat running who has the leadership experience to carry the office forward. I have mentored attorneys, run major units, managed support staff, developed prosecution alternatives, implemented training, advanced reform legislation and responded to emergent situations. I know how to reform the system while promoting prosecutorial excellence.

Both you and your opponent have mentioned an interest in implementing incarceration alternatives. How will you make sure that happens as DA?

As a former head of the DA's Juvenile Unit, I have already created incarceration alternatives. As an example, I developed a program where we offered six weeks of education - without court involvement - for kids caught sexting. Because of our success I helped write successful legislation that removed the felony charge for Colorado's kids who made a dumb choice with a smartphone. Similarly, I worked to keep 10-12 year old children out of the school-to-prison pipeline by offering them Support-Before-Court involvement. I have a proven record of reform.

How will you ensure laws are enforced fairly and equitably?

We must start by acknowledging that inequities exist - that systemic oppression within law enforcement has built barriers that disproportionately impact minorities and the disadvantaged. I will ensure that we recruit and employ prosecutors who reflect the community we serve, and that our prosecutors are not just adequately trained on systemic injustice, but that they seek and consider the voices of lived experiences in their decision-making. It starts with those decisions, but it is ensured by the transparent and accountable practices and on-going community engagement.

Jake Lilly

What makes you the best choice for this office?

I am a former federal, state, and military prosecutor with 17 years of experience and 136 jury trials. I am the only candidate to have been a sex assault prosecutor, a voter protection attorney for President Obama, a defense attorney, and a combat veteran of the Iraq War. I have a plan to make our homes safer, our community stronger, and for common sense reform, including focusing on treating those suffering from mental health crises and getting illegal guns off our streets. I am endorsed by Attorney General Phil Weiser and Congressman Joe Neguse.

What single issue would be at the top of your agenda?

My biggest priorities are getting illegal guns off our streets, treating the mentally ill instead of incarcerating them, and promoting an environment where survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault will be heard and met with belief. Prosecuting sexual assault cases all the way to trial is the highest of these priorities and will contribute to a changing of societal attitudes towards survivors and their experiences. In protecting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, we must enforce our current gun laws, including enforcing our red flag law, to ensure that guns are removed from the hands of offenders.


What must you accomplish for you to consider your term a success?

I firmly believe the job of the D.A. is not just to punish people, but to actively implement policies and work with community partners to lower crime rates. My office will crack down harshly on violent criminals who would prey upon others and lift the voices of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other violent crimes. We will work to prevent crime by providing the necessary mental health, public health, school, and economic resources to prevent a life of crime and work to rehabilitate those within the system who can be saved.


How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how you think the Jeffco district attorney should approach their work?

COVID-19 has clearly impacted both the numbers of people who can be incarcerated and the method by which the Courts work. This crisis provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the workings of our criminal justice system. We can use this moment to focus on our arrest and incarceration policies to determine which violent criminals truly need to be arrested and incarcerated and which non-violent and petty crimes can be handled with summonses, probation, diversion, and alternatives to incarceration. We will also have to address the tightening budgets that come from the economic slowdown as a result of COVID.


Both you and your opponent have mentioned an interest in implementing incarceration alternatives. How will you make sure that happens as DA?

The first judicial district has several specialty courts that operate effectively and are highly successful in treating people instead of incarcerating them. We need to expand diversion courts aggressively. We also need to implement pre-filing diversion and law enforcement assisted diversions that prevent persons suffering from mental health and addiction issues from ever being arrested or incarcerated in the first place. We need dedicated mental health and homeless response officers, as Denver Police and Lakewood Police currently have, and a mental health response line similar to 911. Finally, we must implement a functioning restorative justice program outside of the jail.

How will you ensure laws are enforced fairly and equitably?

These last weeks have demonstrated the need to address racial and economic inequalities in our lives and in the criminal justice system. It is not enough to promise to enforce blind justice. We must start by acknowledging that our system has frequently been used as a tool for oppression. My administration will use transparency, data collection, and accountability to identify and address systemic inequalities and injustices. I will revive the citizens accountability board, re-examine our policies on use of force and body cameras, institute a conviction integrity unit, and focus on community-based policing and relationships.

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.