Former BOEC director into law, back to Breckenridge
Ryan Summerlin March 19, 2013
For Summit County deputy district attorney Bob Gregory, success in the courtroom isn’t always about conviction.
The 33-year-old prosecutor handles misdemeanor and juvenile cases in the Fifth Judicial District, the latter of which sometimes calls for a more creative approach to justice.
“You need to be able to see the big picture,” Gregory said. “In the juvenile context, courts really try hard to address the issues that juvenile is coming to court with. There are a lot of resources in the community that we can use (so) a young person still has many opportunities to develop, to grow and to make better decisions.”
Under the new leadership of recently elected District Attorney Bruce Brown, who spent the campaign season promising to take a well-rounded approach to cases involving minors, Gregory brings the perspective of a pre-law career working with at-risk youth to the process.
Gregory moved to Colorado after receiving his undergraduate degree in economics and public policy in Indiana. He got his start in Summit County as an intern and then a course director with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.
“There’s this idea that the outdoors are so beneficial for these populations,” he said. “I started developing this obligation to protect what was there and started thinking about the environment in different ways.”
In the fall of 2007 he enrolled in law school at the University of Colorado on an environmental law track, and continued his work with at-risk youth through positions with a YMCA summer camp and a residential facility for kids with substance abuse problems. Over time, his environmental track evolved into a focus on criminal law.
He graduated from law school in 2010, took the bar exam and landed a job with the DA’s office handling misdemeanor cases in Summit County in March of 2011.
“I prefer being in the mountains,” said Gregory. “I love the idea of being able to go skiing after work or go for a trail run or get above treeline on a weekday.
After two years, he is now one of the longest-standing attorneys in an office populated with new faces after Brown’s election in November. At about the same time, Gregory began handling misdemeanor cases, which can include felonies.
Along with the courts and probation, he is now focused on finding solutions for victims, the community and for the kids in the courtroom.
“Restorative justice is an idea that rather than punishing an individual for what they did, you can use other means to compel the adjudicated juvenile to pay the victim back, to resort the wrong that they did,” he said. “It causes us as lawyers to think more creatively and think outside the box.”
Those solutions include alternative punishments for juveniles on some occasions including community service and other options depending on the situation.
Gregory said he plans to remain in Summit County and hopes to move into more felony prosecution, possibly even seeking election to the office of the district attorney or a judgeship himself someday.
“Long-term what’s important for me is to make sure at the end of the day I have that feeling that I did something good for the community,” he said. “I’d like to be a prosecutor for a long time.”