Beeson doesn’t get it; vote for Sherry Caloia | AspenTimes.com

Beeson doesn’t get it; vote for Sherry Caloia

Dear Editor:

I am a former prosecutor in the 9th Judicial District, an experienced trial attorney and a credentialed legal professional in multiple jurisdictions on two continents. I have been defending the criminally accused in the 9th Judicial District since I left the District Attorney’s Office in 1998.

Martin Beeson touts himself as an effective district attorney by pointing to 400-plus years of incarceration that defendants his office prosecuted have received in sentences issued by the courts. Huh? Whom is that figure supposed to impress? No credible operator within the criminal justice system would grade his effectiveness by such a metric. The American Bar Association Standards state that a “prosecutor should not make the severity of sentences the index for his or her effectiveness.” No credible candidate for public office would promote himself with such a number. How on earth would a curious electorate make any sense of this figure, anyway?

Beeson’s office is notorious within the local defense bar for overcharging cases and using this practice to force the plea-bargaining process in his favor. While it is pathetic that Beeson points to the total number of years of incarceration issued, this number would look very small, I suspect, if compared to the total potential years of incarceration that were possible based on the inflated initial charges his office tends to file. These numbers have nothing to do with whether Beeson has run his office properly.

In his most recent term, Beeson has made some simply idiotic public statements about the criminal-defense bar that call into question whether he understands that there is a presumption of innocence enjoyed by the criminally accused in this country and whether he understands the vital constitutional role the public defenders and the private defense bar play in the justice system.

A good district attorney knows when he has a case he can prove or not. A good district attorney acts as a watchdog over the local police departments – not as their lapdog. A good district attorney keeps his powder dry and keeps his deputies flexible yet focused on promoting justice.

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I’ve worked on both sides of the courtroom in criminal cases in this valley, and I know what Martin Beeson doesn’t seem to know: that there is honor in defending the criminally accused just as much as there is honor in representing the people of Colorado as our prosecutor. We deserve a district attorney who gets it.

I know Sherry Caloia, I’ve worked with Sherry Caloia. Mr. Beeson, you are no Sherry Caloia. It is a blessing that an attorney with Sherry’s decades of experience in the public and private sectors is willing to seek the position. I support Caloia as our new district attorney, and I ask you to give her your vote in this very important election. Thank you.

Jeff Wertz

Aspen