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Truden: DA office needs new boss

Naomi Havlen

Colleen Truden, one of two candidates for the district attorney of the 9th Judicial District, says she’s running for the position because “we need a change in the management of the DA’s office.”Truden is a former municipal court judge for Glenwood Springs and says she has 22 years of legal experience, as well as business, administrative and leadership skills. “I believe I can make a very positive change for the DA’s office, and particularly for our judicial district, because it’s imperative that the DA and the office interact with their partners on a positive and cooperative effort,” she said recently. Truden has lived in Glenwood Springs since 1991. Her legal career started in college, when she was an undergraduate at Taylor University in Indiana. She joined a consortium program in Washington, D.C., for a summer. Truden said she interned with the chief of division of magistrates for the administrative offices of the Supreme Court.

While attending law school at Valparaiso University in Indiana, Truden clerked in law offices, interning for a federal magistrate and a federal judge. When she graduated in 1982 she worked for six state trial court judges, which are akin to district court judges in Colorado, and then went to work with a private practice law firm.Truden took a federal clerkship in South Bend, Ind., handling the criminal docket and prisoner litigation cases for chief judge Allen Sharp of the Federal District Court.After two years, Truden moved to Indianapolis to clerk for a supreme court justice, handling mostly criminal cases. She describes clerking as being an attorney for the judges, reviewing cases, filing information and drafting up opinions, responses and orders for the judge.Truden then became a staff counselor for the department of corrections in Indiana, advising criminal investigators on things like evidence and handling prisoner litigation cases. After three years in that position, Truden decided to move to Colorado, picking Glenwood Springs as the place to enter private practice.Truden was appointed an associate municipal court judge for Glenwood Springs in 1994 and appointed as the municipal court judge for the city in 1998. She served until 2003, when she left the position to go back to school and get her masters.

In May, Truden got her master’s of law degree in government and public policy from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, Calif. Truden said her greatest strength is her leadership ability, saying she has a very “open approach” to her staff and that her management skills bring forth positive, cooperative relationships. She said she does not yet have anyone in particular in mind for the assistant district attorney position if she wins the primary.She said she plans on working with the business community, saying she’s heard from many business owners that the current district attorney is not filing as many charges as businesses would like for crimes like check fraud.”I think we need to improve the cooperative relationship with law enforcement agencies, ensuring better communication, guidance and training,” she said. “I think the DA needs to provide direction, supervision and mentorship for your own staff and professionals within your own office – helping them build their own careers and supporting them.”

Truden said she knows that her experience has been questioned during this race, and she feels she has 22 years of experience and trial work that’s “universal.””As a former judge I’ve observed trial lawyers, [and] as a law clerk I’ve observed lawyers, and as a litigator myself doing trials,” she said. “I know how to put a case together, how to present it and how to work with experts. The criticism is that I don’t know how to try a case, but I do – I’ve done it for a long time.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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