Q. Why did you want to become a prosecutor?
A. Prior to law school, I owned a real estate and construction business. I went to law school to eventually specialize in real estate law. After law school, I went to Colorado Springs and joined the El Paso County district attorney's office to gain some courtroom experience. I did not intend to make prosecution a career. However, my first felony jury trial involved an 8-year-old victim who had been sexually assaulted by her stepfather. That experience changed my life. My passion became prosecution and the pursuit of justice. It's been over 20 years since that trial, and I still feel the same passion for justice and victims of crime.
Q. Do you feel that justice is always served?
A. The pursuit of justice can be elusive. This is what makes a prosecutor's job so challenging. I believe that we have the best criminal judicial system in the world, but it is not perfect. I also believe that determining whether justice has been served in a case depends on a person's perspective. As hard as we try to achieve justice in every case, I cannot say that justice is always served. For example, the conviction of a murderer does not bring back the victim of the murder. In our office, I preach that, as prosecutors, our ethical obligation is not merely to obtain convictions; rather, it is to "do justice."
Q. What is the strangest case you’ve ever been involved in?
A. I have been involved in many strange cases. One of them that come to mind was the prosecution of Sterling Davis. Sterling Davis entered a nursing home and kidnapped an 83-year-old woman. She was blind, and unable to hear or communicate. She was also wheelchair-bound. Mr. Davis, 22-years-old at the time, wheeled the elderly victim out of the nursing home to a remote area and sexually assaulted her. He then wheeled her back to the home and left her outside the front door. A couple of days later, Sterling Davis again entered the nursing home and kidnapped the same elderly woman. He wheeled her to a remote area and once again sexually assaulted her. Mr. Davis was caught as he wheeled the victim back to the home. Sterling Davis was convicted and received a lengthy prison sentence. To this day I do not know what motivated him to commit such a horrendous crime against this elderly woman in the twilight of her life.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
A. The favorite part of my job is watching young, inexperienced prosecutors progress over time. We have worked hard to train our attorneys. I have organized all of our prosecution units into teams, which enables our more experienced prosecutors to interact with those who are less experienced. We give our prosecutors the resources to thrive. It is very rewarding to watch these attorneys achieve success both in and out of the courtroom.
Q. What is your least favorite part of your job?
A. The least favorite part of my job is dealing with personnel problems. I am committed to being a fair and decisive leader. I have had to dismiss employees from the DA's office for a variety of reasons, including budget cuts. This is not a pleasant task, but it comes with the job. Leadership means making tough decisions for the good of the organization, and I will continue to make those decisions when necessary.
Q. If you could work in your ideal situation — after your time as Jeffco and Gilpin counties’ DA is over — what would you be doing?
A. After my tenure as district attorney is done, maybe I will become a groundskeeper at a golf course, or maybe drive the beverage cart.
Q. Do you watch “Law and Order”? If so, which one do you like most?
A. I have seen “Law And Order,” but not on a regular basis. What I like best about the show are the conversations between the prosecutors and the elected district attorney. I am often involved in similar discussions with our prosecutors regarding strategy, filing decisions, and what a just outcome would be in a particular case. However, I would not compare myself to Fred Thompson.
Q. Favorite courtroom movie?
A. “To Kill A Mockingbird”
Q. Favorite breakfast cereal?
A. Shredded Wheat
Q. Who did you idolize growing up? Favorite superhero?
A. Hopalong Cassidy
Questions submitted and answers compiled by A.J. Vicens. Contact A.J. Vicens at firstname.lastname@example.org.