Former Truden deputy filing ethics complaint
August 26, 2005
A former prosecutor in the office of District Attorney Colleen Truden said Friday she is filing an ethics complaint against Truden.In fact, Katie Steers may have little choice.If Steers feels Truden has committed ethical transgressions, she is legally bound to report her concerns to the Colorado Supreme Court office that handles complaints against attorneys.Steers resigned from Truden’s office Thursday. She accused Truden and Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter of abusing their power by making prosecution decisions based on their views about defense attorneys, instead of the case itself and what’s right for the defendant.John Gleason, regulation counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court, said any lawyer in Colorado who believes another attorney has engaged in an ethical violation is obligated to report it.Steers said, “I have knowledge of what’s going on, so I guess that puts me in the category of someone who at least requests such an investigation.”Gleason said he has no opinion on the merits of Steers’ allegations, but he said it would be the job of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel to look into her concerns if she files a grievance.”If that lawyer believes that this DA engaged in this conduct, then she has a duty to report it,” Gleason said. Steers said she contacted Gleason’s office Friday and has begun the process of filing a complaint.Truden has not returned calls for comments since Steers went public with her concerns. In an interview Friday, Felletter said the Supreme Court office is the appropriate forum for hearing Steers’ allegations.”Let’s have that hearing and let’s let the ethics board decide if there was anything wrong. But I assure you that there’s nothing there.”Gleason said the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all lawyers and judges in Colorado. He’s aware of the ongoing attempt to recall Truden but said his office’s only concern is lawyers’ professional conduct.”The political aspects of it are of no consequence to us. We are not going to involve ourselves in any of that,” he said.When grievances are filed, the response after an investigation can range from dismissal of the grievance, to suspension of the accused attorney, to disbarment. Bob Grant, executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys Council, said district attorneys are required to have a license to practice law.He said he’s not aware of any concerns being raised to the Colorado District Attorneys Council about Truden.Gleason said he isn’t allowed to say whether complaints have been filed against Truden. “I can’t reveal the existence of the complaint until there’s a public proceeding,” he said.Those who file complaints aren’t bound by the same rules of confidentiality, he said.Gleason said no public proceedings are taking place against Truden.