Letter: Guilty as charged | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Guilty as charged

Since this is the first time I’ve ever sought a political office, I was told by many that I’d better have thick skin. Boy, were they right!

Although I’ve tried to have thick skin, I am not immune to Chip McCrory’s recent all-out assault on me and my character. It seems the more complimentary people are of me and my character, the more he attacks. The most recent attack comes because of Martin Beeson’s unsolicited letter recounting an event which occurred on a Memorial Day nine years ago in which I jumped into a river and attempted to save a drowning kayaker. I’m guilty as charged. I did jump into the river and try to save a 34-year-old man. Beeson wasn’t the only witness to this event. My family was there, too, and although I regrettably failed to save him, I’m proud that my kids saw me try to save another human being. He has attacked me for going to the United Kingdom to extradite a murderer. I plead guilty to this charge, as well.

Sabrina Dang’s killer dumped her body in Garfield County and fled across the Atlantic to the U.K. The process to get him back to the United States was a complicated one which involved working through the U.S. Department of State, Scotland Yard and the application of a variety of legal provisions derived from extradition treaties. I did do what my boss at the time asked me to do: be the lead trial attorney for a murder case and do whatever it took to retrieve the murderer back to the U.S. for prosecution. I promised the Dang family that we would seek justice for their daughter, and I do not apologize for doing everything within my ability to do so.

If elected, I commit to doing so for every other victim of a violent crime which may occur during my tenure. The only things I couldn’t control were the volcano eruption that prevented my return air travel over the Atlantic and the outcome of the previous election, which resulted in a change in leadership at the District Attorney’s Office and a soft plea bargain for the murderer.

Lastly, I’ve also been attacked by McCrory for doing wills and estates for the previous four years, and both of my opponents accuse me of wanting a government job. I notice these accusers either have a government job or are seeking one. I’ve been blessed to help folks with some estate planning and I’ve also done some criminal defense, real estate and business law, and I continue to help clients with legal matters to this day. However, I do want to be the next elected district attorney, which necessarily involves having a government job. Therefore, I’m guilty as charged once again.

In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing law and thickening my skin, as well. Despite the attacks, I wish both of my opponents the very best regardless of the outcome of this election.

Jeff Cheney

New Castle


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