Former deputy DA sues colleagues
November 6, 2007
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A former prosecutor in the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed a lawsuit claiming unidentified colleagues made false statements that caused an atmosphere of distrust toward her that “forced her to resign” in February.
Pamela Mucklow, a former 9th Judicial District deputy district attorney, filed the civil lawsuit in 9th Judicial District Court on Nov. 1 against “John Doe et al.” “Et al.” is Latin for “and others.”
According to the complaint, people gave District Attorney Martin Beeson false information about her previous work. The statements caused distrust and lack of support toward her in the DA’s office that forced her to resign, the complaint states. Beeson has since refused to reveal the source of the information to Mucklow, the complaint says.
“Because of the defamatory statements published to Beeson, Mucklow was treated with suspicion and distrust by the District Attorney and his employees and was not supported in disputes with the Public Defender,” the complaint states. “Because of the treatment which resulted from the defamatory statements, Mucklow was forced to resign.”
According to the complaint, Beeson emailed Mucklow about reports on her past conduct that were distressing, including comments on her work in Fort Morgan.
“He advised her that he had been told that a colleague had heard her ordering the lab to proceed with testing (of evidence) and had told her not to proceed because it was a violation of the court’s order,” the complaint states. “The colleague said she had responded by saying, ‘So what? The worst that could happen is that the court will disqualify me from trying the case.'” The complaint adds that people told Beeson that Mucklow was ordered to dismiss the case because of a resulting insufficiency of evidence and that she refused to do so. These and other statements were false, the complaint says.
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Mucklow claims that as a result of the unidentified people’s actions, she suffered damages including an impaired reputation, personal humiliation, mental anguish and loss of income. The complaint asks for damages and pre- and post-judgment interest.
Mucklow worked in the office for about 3 1/2 months until mid-February. She said at that time she resigned. Her complaint states, “As a result of the defendants’ actions, plaintiff’s employment was terminated. As a result, she has lost and continues to lose income from salary.”
Some described Mucklow’s hiring as a misstep by the DA’s office. Public records show past grievances against her made it to the supreme court, which found she failed to disclose evidence in a timely fashion in two cases. However, the court reversed a disciplinary hearing board’s judgment, also finding that there was no violation of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure because the incidents were unintentional.
After Mucklow left, Beeson said the disclosure incidents occurred about a decade ago when Mucklow was a relatively young and inexperienced prosecutor. He said two other prospective applicants had passed up the same job offer due to salary issues. He added that prosecutors are regularly accused of failing to disclose evidence as a defense strategy or due to complications from working with several law enforcement agencies at once.
Mucklow said she didn’t want to comment. Beeson replied in an e-mail that he couldn’t comment on the situation, other than to confirm that Mucklow resigned and was not terminated, because it’s a personnel matter.
The 9th Judicial District includes Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties.